The Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, the premier student group in Jazz St. Louis’s middle- and high-school education program JazzU, traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota this weekend to perform in the 16th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The All-Stars will play on the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Prince Street Stage on Saturday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m. The entire festival is free and open to the public.
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival, June 26-28, is one of the largest civic events in the Upper Midwest, attracting over 30,000 people each year. Headlining this year’s festival are GRAMMY-winning vocalist Dianne Reeves and NEA Jazz Master saxophonist Branford Marsalis. The festival will also feature 2013 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition winner Melissa Aldana. During their visit, the All-Stars will be attending a private clinic with Peruvian guitarist Andres Prado and public clinics with both Marsalis and percussionist Baba Tundelea.
“I’m very excited for our students to have this amazing opportunity to showcase St. Louis’ rising talent at one of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the Midwest,” said Phil Dunlap, Jazz St. Louis’s Director of Education and Community Engagement.
The All-Stars were invited to perform at the festival by Larry Englund, President of the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, who programs the youth stage. The Dakota Foundation also teaches a group of student musicians, the Dakota Combo, who performed with the All-Stars at last year’s Iowa City Jazz Festival.
Jazz St. Louis’ JazzU is a free program that places talented middle- and high-school musicians in small jazz combos that meet weekly between September and May, receiving instruction from the top musicians/educators in the area. This past school year, 60 emerging musicians were accepted from a pool of 115 who auditioned. The Jazz St. Louis All-Stars is comprised of the top students from those auditions.
In addition to receiving weekly instruction from some of the area’s top musicians and educators, including Artist in Residency Peter Martin, JazzU students get the opportunity to work with many of the artists who appear on the Jazz at the Bistro concert series. JazzU students are also able to attend the Jazz at the Bistro performances for free and receive transportation subsidies as needed.
Funding for the JazzU program comes from a lead gift from Monsanto Fund and supporting gifts from the Arthur & Helen Baer Foundation, Ameren Missouri, and the Staenberg Family Foundation.