Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz tour kicks off in district schools
ABOVE PHOTO: Christian McBride
Due to Philadelphia's rich jazz history, the School District of Philadelphia was one of four school districts nationwide selected this year to be provided a week of peer-to-peer concerts and workshops by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz of Los Angeles, California. With lead funding from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Institute will introduce its "Peer-to-Peer" jazz education program in five Philadelphia public schools from March 19-23, 2012.
With the help of Grammy Award Winner and Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) alum Christian McBride, seven exceptionally gifted high school music students from the Institute's National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program will combine performance with information to present these "informances". Also on hand will be Kansas City vocal sensation Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. J.B. Dyas.
The Institute will be making stops at CAPA, Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP), Northeast High School, High School of the Future, and Shawmont School. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by jazz workshops for each school's jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their City of Brotherly Love counterparts. The students will talk with their Philadelphia peers about what jazz is, why it's important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy.
"As young people are so influenced by kids their own age, who better to expose them to this great American art form than those of their own generation?" said Thelonious Monk, Jr., Chairman of the Institute's Board of Trustees and son of legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk.
The weeklong stint will conclude with two shows open (8:00 and 10:00 PM) to the public on Friday, March 23 at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Samson St. where Philadelphia residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with McBride and Henry alongside jazz's future "young lions." The nonet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, as well as compositions from McBride's and Henry's latest CD releases.
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit education organization established in memory of Thelonious Monk, the legendary jazz pianist and composer. The Institute offers the most promising young musicians college level training by America's jazz masters through its fellowship program in Jazz Performance, and presenting public school-based jazz education programs around the world. Helping to fill the tremendous void in arts education left by budget cuts in public school funding, the Institute's school programs are provided free of charge and use jazz as the medium to encourage imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self-image, and respect for one's own and others' cultural heritage. Jazz great Herbie Hancock serves as chairman.
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