John Stafford II is the Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Co-Coordinator of the Music Department at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Professor Stafford was recently selected as the 2020 Henry Louis Excellence in Teaching Award Winner (KCKCC’s Faculty of the Year Award) and in 2015, was a recipient of the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award for outstanding teaching and leadership at the community college level.He has also received two other teaching awards from KCKCC for Recruitment and Teaching Excellence. Stafford was appointed at Millikin University, Eastern Illinois University, and Danville Area Community College teaching composition, theory, orchestration, history, and vocal jazz. He holds degrees from Millikin University (music business), Bowling Green State University (composition), and has done additional doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (choral conducting).
Among his professional activities, Professor Stafford serves as the Jazz R&R Chair of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and Commercial/Contemporary Music R&R Chair of the Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. He is also a member of the National Association for Music Educators, Jazz Educators Network, and American Choral Directors Association. Since 2014, Professor Stafford has served as the Choral Director of Community Christian Church (architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright) in Kansas City, MO. He also currently serves as the Artistic Director of the m-pact Vocal Festival at KCKCC.
Professor Stafford directs, The Standard, the award-winning contemporary vocal jazz ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College. Within the past five years, they have been selected to perform at the national conferences of the Jazz Education Network, the American Choral Directors Association, and the National Association for Music Education. The Standard has also been selected to perform at the Southwestern Divisional Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop, the New York Voices Jazz Festival, and the Real Group Festival, and the New York City Jazz Festival at Jazz at the Lincoln Center. The Standard received a number #1 rating at the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley Jazz Festival in 2015. Since 2017, members of The Standard have won ten DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards for Outstanding Performance, Live Engineered Recording, Studio Engineered Recording, and Outstanding Soloist in the Community College category. Two of those DownBeat awards included being the 2020 Community College Winner for Blues/Pop/Rock Ensemble and 2020 Community College Co-Winner for Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble. In December of 2018, The Standard released their first studio recording, Feelin’ Good, and the album has been played on radio stations throughout the Midwest. In September 2020, The Standard has digitally released their first single recording of Justin Binek’s composition, Reparations. In May 2021, the ensemble will release their second studio album, entitled Coal and Diamonds. The group has shared the stage with such highly acclaimed artists as Take 6, New York Voices, m-pact, Carmen Bradford, Dianne Reeves, and Marilyn Maye.