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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA

Jazz Outreach Initiative Provides Free Jazz Mentors to CCSD Schools

After successfully launching its professional big band, the “JOI Jazz Orchestra,” Jazz Outreach Initiative is furthering its commitment to our local jazz community by reaching into the heart of the future of jazz, our students in middle and high schools in Southern Nevada.

Taking a queue from Jazz at Lincoln Center's school outreach programs, JOI seeks to recreate the success of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis which sends its talented professional musicians into schools and communities to work directly with students and band directors. Similarly, Jazz Outreach Initiative has begun sending its first call professional musicians into schools to assist the students and band directors in preparing for spring jazz festivals.

A generous gift from the Gladys and Fred Katen Family Foundation makes it possible to accommodate 20 schools this semester. The first school served was Canarelli Middle School Jazz Band, taught by Band Director, Marisa Davidson.

As a signal to the caliber of expertise available in JOI’s stable of professionals, Maestro Nathan Tanouye was sent in to work with the students. Nathan Tanouye holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from UNLV where he currently serves as Associate Professor. He also serves as Celine Dion’s Orchestrator and Arranger, performs and composes for Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, is the Principal Trombonist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Lady Gaga, and other headline artists. Nathan is a commissioned composer/arranger and member of the JOI Jazz Orchestra among many other roles. Mr. Tanouye has been nationally recognized for his exceptional trombone performances and especially for his many outstanding compositions and arrangements.

After concluding the clinic with her band, Ms. Davidson noted, “Jazz Outreach Initiative exposes our students to new experiences, such as working with and receiving instruction from amazing jazz educators in a rehearsal setting. The knowledge the students gain from moments like these is beneficial to their growth as young musicians."

Local Middle and High School Band Directors in Southern NV are encouraged to reach out to JOI Co-founder and V.P. of Education and Programming, Gary Cordell, to schedule time with their bands with a member of the JOI Jazz Orchestra provided at no cost.

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