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  • Writer's pictureJAM

Deborah Brown Headlines Free Sunflower Music Festival

What started as a chamber music festival back in 1987 has grown to be one of the Midwest’s featured summer performing arts events. Sunflower Music Festival returns to Topeka’s Washburn University June 18-26. Deborah Brown and Joe Cartwright are the featured jazz performers on Monday, June 21 7:30 at White Concert Hall on the Washburn campus. There is no admission charge.

“Last year was the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote,” explained Festival president Paul Post. “The pandemic killed that idea, so we’re producing the festival this year. All of our headliners—conductors, soloists—are going to be women. Joe suggested Deborah, who we’ve heard before—she’s fabulous.”

The Monday night free jazz concerts began back in 2012. Trumpeter Sean Jones started the tradition, and artists from Eldar to Karrin Allyson have been invited back, thanks to the support of longtime jazz Contributor Liz Stratton. The free Monday night jazz concert is named in her honor.

Joining Joe and Deborah on the White Concert Hall stage will be Topeka native Ben Leifer on bass, Rod Fleeman on guitar and Mike Warren on drums. For more information on the Sunflower Music Festival, check out their website at

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