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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA


Back again for this school year, were our two highly engaging and ever popular educational outreach programs, “Buzzin’ in Brass” and “Jazz for Young People”. “Buzzin’” features the JOI brass quintet and takes Title I elementary school student audiences through an immersive discovery of the instruments of the brass quintet and then performances of age-appropriate recognizable tunes set to jazz themes. The program is sponsored in part through The Smith Center’s education program and costs our schools nothing for the back to back hour-long performances. Feedback from students is always tremendously joyful as they sing and clap along and answer questions. Principals and teachers rave about the program and request us back year after year.

The “Jazz for Young People” (J4YP) concerts are targeted at Title I middle schools and high schools and feature the JOI Sextet as student audiences learn all about a particular jazz luminary; this year, Miles Davis. Students learn how the artist lived their life, how they overcame challenges to focus on their success, and wrote and performed some of the greatest music of our time. The life lessons taken away from these concerts, licensed to us by Jazz at Lincoln Center and paid for through a grant from the Music Performance Trust Fund, are as important as the music itself. As with “Buzzin,” J4YP is tremendously popular among the secondary schools.

Both programs sadly are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic but are planned to resume this fall.

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