With last season behind us we can now begin to look ahead to next year’s education season. As we look forward, I am happy to announce a lot of great additions to our education programming and I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of the very exciting things that will be happening.
Auditions for the JazzU and Jazz St. Louis All-Star programs were conducted at the beginning of June and we saw more than a 60% increase in the number of students that auditioned in comparison to last year. Faculty for the JazzU program include Anthony Wiggins (trumpet), Cody Henry (trombone), Aaron Lehde (saxophone), Andy Ament (saxophone) and myself, Phil Dunlap (piano). Bios for the JazzU faculty can be found here. This year’s Jazz St. Louis All-Star group will be led by the great Jason Swagler (saxophone) who is a new addition to the Jazz St. Louis faculty.
A great new feature to the above programs is the addition of two permanent Artists in Residence. We have always had our Residency program, but those artists are only in one week a year to work with our students. This new addition takes advantage of the professional jazz artists that call St. Louis home, making them regular fixtures with specific groups in the JazzU and All-Star programs. This year we add pianists Reginald Thomas (who will be Artist in Residence with the All-Stars) and Peter Martin (who will be Artist in Residence with the top group in our JazzU program). These two phenominal artists will work directly with our students on a monthly basis.
The Jazz St. Louis Artist Residency program will bring four great artists into the St. Louis community for an entire week. These artists include Dr. Gene Aitken, saxophonist Ronald Carter, and the great Cyrus Chestnut with special guest, Jon Faddis.
In November, Jazz St. Louis will be presenting a series of concerts at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center geared towards students of all ages. The 2010 Youth Concerts feature JazzReach with Metta Quintet and include Stolen Moments: The First One Hundred Years of Jazz (grades 6-12), Big Drum/Small World for KIDS! (grades 3-5) and Hangin’ with the Giants (grades k-4). These great performances feature narration and an interactive media presentation along with music by Metta Quintet. They are definitely not to be missed.
Of course, the venerable Emerson Jazz in the Schools program will continue to bring the world class artists that grace the Jazz at the Bistro stage out into schools and we will continue our partnerships with Normandy and East St. Louis High Schools through our Adopt-a-School program.
The newest addition to Jazz St. Louis’ education programs is Jazz from the Inside. This program brings together students from St. Louis and all around the country using video conferencing technology and a fiber optic education network called Internet2. We will be doing a number of Jazz from the Inside programs throughout the year….but more on that story as it develops.
As you can see, there are a lot of great things happening in education here at Jazz St. Louis and we are thrilled to be able to share them with students and teachers in the St. Louis area. The greatest feature of our education programs is that they are all free. Let me say that one more time. They are all FREE. We would not be able to keep these opportunities free without the generous support of so many corporations foundations and individuals such as yourself.
If you would like more information on our education programs or how to be involved, check out the education section of our website or give me a call, Phil Dunlap, at 314.289.4033. Also, keep an eye out for our education brochure, which will be coming to a mailbox near you very soon.