It’s been three years since I was hired on as Jazz St. Louis’ Director of Education and as I reflect on the education programs then and now, I can note a lot of positive happenings.
But first, a little history…The education offerings of Jazz St. Louis (JSL) had quite humble beginnings when it opened in the Grand Center district and took the form of Sunday afternoon performance by high school jazz bands at Jazz at the Bistro. From there, the Whitaker Jazz Education Collaborative (now called Emerson Jazz in the Schools) was created in 2000 and then in 2004, the THF Realty All-Star Student Ensemble (now called the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars) came into existence.
Fast forward to present day… One of the most interesting and unique programs created since 2007 is the JSL Artist Residency program. Now in its third year, there have been five residencies since the spring of 2007, one coming up in April of 2010 and three slated for the 2010-2011 season. The unique aspect of the JSL Residency program is that it incorporates an entire group and not just the headlining artist. This program brings three to five musicians into town for an entire week to do intense, hands on work with students involved in JSL’s after-school programs and students in various elementary, middle and high schools in the St. Louis area.
Since its inception, Residency artists have included the Esperanza Spalding Trio, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, the Terell Stafford Quintet, the Bruce Barth Quintet and the Greg Osby Four (the Clayton Brothers Quintet are scheduled for April of 2010). To date, approximately 5500 students have been impacted by a JSL Residency artist through one of the 43 clinics/master classes or 44 in-school performances that have taken place.
As the program continues to grow, we at JSL will continue to maintain our standard of excellence in providing unique educational experiences for the students, teachers and general public of the St. Louis area. The afore mentioned Clayton Brothers Quintet will be visiting seven different schools and participating in 16 activities ranging from clinics and master classes to in-school performances during their residency in April. If you can, check out their culminating concerts at Jazz at the Bistro, Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, 2010.
If you would like more information on this or other JSL education programs, please check out the other areas of our new website. Also, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me a note via email.