Major Donation to Jazz St. Louis Educational Program
St. Louis, MO. Jazz St. Louis received $30,000 from the Arthur and Helen Baer Foundation to support its 2012-13 education outreach program, JazzU.
Since 2007, JazzU has provided area middle- and high-school students with weekly jazz ensemble instruction from the best regional jazz faculty and musicians. Additionally, JazzU students have the enviable opportunity to work with internationally recognized professional jazz artists including trumpeter Terrell Stafford, bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding, drummer Matt Wilson, pianist Cyrus Chestnut, violinist Regina Carter and others that participate in Jazz St. Louis’s Artist Residency program. In addition to teaching classes in ensemble playing, improvisation, music theory and listening strategies, these jazz icons also impart upon students skills, which apply across many professional pursuits: discipline, practice, character, dependability, and teamwork.
“The Baer Family legacy and commitment to educational initiatives in St. Louis lives on and thrives via the work of its Foundation,” says trustee, Patrick Stark. “The Baer Foundation is pleased and honored to support Jazz St. Louis’s JazzU program, which not only offers an exceptional educational opportunity for talented regional musicians, but also offers live performance experience as well as private instruction from international jazz stars at no cost to the student or parent. Providing the program for free removes economic barriers and ensures tremendous diversity amongst participants.”
JazzU parent Clay Grumke states, “The JazzU program has given [my son] the opportunity to meet so many great musicians, many incredible professionals. But just as important, he has met great high school musicians outside of his own school community. He has particularly enjoyed playing with a Maplewood Richmond Heights guitar player, Zach. While they live less than two miles from each other, they never met before Jazz U. Now they play jazz combo gigs together. They are from different communities, but they speak the same language, the language taught at JazzU.”
Each year, fifty five students are selected to participate in JazzU through an extensive audition process; although no specific jazz experience is required. Students are placed in various ensembles based on their skill level rehearsing weekly from September through May of each year. The preeminent JazzU ensemble is the “Jazz St. Louis All-Stars” which comprises the top players in the program. The All-Stars serve as Jazz St. Louis’s community ambassadors by performing at regional events like the St. Louis Art Fair and the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival as well as at the Jazz at the Bistro venue in Grand Center.
On June 1 and 2, JazzU ensembles will open the 2012 Jazz at the Bistro Summer Series with two performances nightly at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The students will be joined by nationally-acclaimed tenor saxophonist Tim Warfield who has appeared on several GRAMMY®-nominated recordings including Stefon Harris’s “The Grand Unification Theory” and Nicholas Payton’s “Dear Louis.” Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and may be purchased on-line at www.jazzstl.org/events or by phone 314-534-1111.
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Jazz St. Louis is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to advance the uniquely American art of jazz through live performance, education and outreach. For more information about Jazz St. Louis, visit www.jazzstl.org.