My Essentials: Melissa Hickman

Composer, musician, and educator, Melissa Hickman. Photo by Kaelyn Head

Christmas is Melissa Hickman’s favorite time of the year. Medical researcher by day and songwriter and jazz pianist extraordinaire by night, Hickman has released four new solos through her music company, NbG Music, to celebrate the season—from upbeat pop beats to jazzy holiday tunes. “Music composition has always been my passion and most of my pieces have a sacred theme,” she says. “I believe everyone has unique God-given abilities, but it’s up to each individual to recognize and develop those talents for the greater good.”

Hickman was born in Kansas City and loves being back in her hometown. “Kansas City is the best kept secret in the country,” she says. “I love all the culture we have here, but the best part is that you can enjoy all the amenities that come with a major city, but drive 30 to 45 minutes in any direction and find yourself surrounded by fields and wildlife.”

What’s next for Hickman’s hometown musical talents? NbG is expanding in 2024, to include a new recording studio, educational program, and group classes to teach basic jazz chord progressions and improvisational skills to adults. We can’t wait!

Melissa’s essentials...

Making Music: My favorite jazz venues are The Piano Room and The Phoenix, but I also love the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra.

Shop Small: I highly recommend the Missouri Bluffs Boutique in Weston. It’s a beautiful store with a wide assortment of what the owners describe as “artistic” women’s clothing.

Local Maker: My favorite local maker is probably B.A.C. Musical Instruments. Mike Corrigan, the “horn doctor,” creates custom instruments for any level of musician. I’m a trumpet player, and owning one of his instruments is definitely on my bucket list.

Dining Out: The Weston Trio and the linguini and fresh seafood at The Avalon Cafe in Weston are my favorites, but I’d also recommend the Sunday brunch. The simple white tablecloths and intimate dining rooms (with fireplaces) lend themselves to an elegant and simple time when dining was an experience to be savored.

Self-Care Sesh: Bijin Salon and Spa in Prairie Village offers a full range of services at an affordable price.

Café Stop: I’m just your basic coffee drinker, but I do enjoy going to PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans in Platte City. The Honey Oat Milk Latte is the right blend of sweetness (honey sweetener) with the nondairy creaminess of oat milk.

Underrated Gem: The Reef in the Executive Hills area off Tiffany Springs and I-29. The highlight is the monthly dinner and show performed by owner John Woodruff who does impressions of musicians, singing their signature songs. The Reef’s dimly lit atmosphere is reminiscent of the Kansas City supper clubs of the 70s with a modern twist. 

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