A Nebraska native, Kara Leigh Baxter is a jazz artist, composer, arranger and educator. At age 4, she began lessons on the violin, eventually pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. It was in Boulder where Kara first began to sing jazz, both in a group and as a soloist. She changed course from classical violin to jazz voice, and moved to Chicago, where she completed a Master of Music in Jazz Voice and Commercial Music.
Upon completing her Master's degree, Kara was involved in a devastating car accident which ultimately forced her to move back to Nebraska to recover. During this recovery time, unable to play violin possibly ever again, Kara began to compose. Soon after, she formed a band and began to play gigs again in the Lincoln, Nebraska community. She also began to teach Jazz Voice at Doane College, directing their vocal jazz group "Jazz Unlimited" for the next 11 years. During this time, Kara attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, to study Jazz Composition with Dr. Eric Richards. She completed her Doctorate in 2014.
Kara resides in Hastings, Nebraska with her husband Wes and their three sons. She currently teaches music at Hastings College, plays in Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra, and can be heard frequently in the Midwest performing her arrangements and compositions with Big Bands, Jazz Combos, and Symphony Orchestras.