Jazz Outreach Initiative is launching its long-anticipated youth outreach program, “Jazz Routes” on Sunday, October 17, 2021. Jazz Routes, a play on words, is the brainchild of Jazz Outreach Initiative Emeritus Board Member, Judge Richard Boulware and JOI Executive Director, Donny Thompson. The program follows the footsteps of similar efforts which place donated instruments into the hands of disadvantages and system-impacted youth with the valuable addition of a year’s worth of FREE lessons to learn how to play it.
“Working with members of the community and local businesses to create this kind of program is essential,” said Donny Thompson, Executive Dir. at Jazz Outreach Initiative. “Many people have an old instrument collecting dust in a closet or garage that could be enjoyed by a young person who may never have the means to afford an opportunity to experience the joy of expressing themselves through music. Jazz Routes, with its unique combination of both instruments and private lessons provides an opportunity to provide the many benefits of learning and instrument and is a gift to the entire family.”
The first student will be gifted their instrument (a trumpet) during the performance of local renowned vocalist, Jonathan Karrant at his “Sunday Funday Jazz” concert, 2pm at Notoriety downtown. One of JOI’s mentor musicians, Trumpet Master and composer, Jorge Machain will be the first teacher. Machain will perform with Karrant’s band and then JOI will present the trumpet to the student and introduce her to her new teacher she just watched play. The student was selected from the Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS), the city’s only all-girls charter school. JOI Exec. Dir. Donny Thompson teamed up with GALS Exec. Dir. Krista Yarberry for this effort. Yarberry understands the transformative effect music education have on the academic and emotional growth of students of all ages and demographics and enthusiastically agreed to engage her students in this endeavor. Further discussions are ongoing related to JOI possibly forming a band at the school for other girls, including donated instruments and a band director paid for by Jazz Outreach Initiative donors.
Local music stores, Music & Arts, provided the refurbishing services for the instruments waiting to go to students at no cost. Bill Parker, Music & Arts repair technician, is leading the effort on donated time. Parker suggested that the unique nature of this program and the life changing benefits it brings to our area youth is worthy of the entire community’s support.
There have been several attempts at music instrument donation type programs over the years to varying degrees of success. A great challenge has always been not just in getting instruments into the hands of needy children, but in assuring those children experience a benefit. The greatest cost of an instrument isn’t the instrument itself, but the cost of learning how to play it from a quality private teacher who can instill accountability, work ethic, and dedication needed to excel. What makes Jazz Routes different is that the public not only donates the instruments which can be refurbished and readied for play by local experts and music stores, but also the funds to help that child obtain the private lessons needed to express themselves through music. Locally, music lessons can cost an average of $30 for a half hour. Donors and sponsors of Jazz Routes through small monthly gifts and larger donations will connect the language of music to the language of life for youth throughout our community. Music lessons are taught for one full year by a highly skilled and properly background checked master musician.
Jazz Routes Availability
JOI is accepting donated instruments and student sponsorships now at www.joi-lv.org/outreach Information and instrument or sponsorship donations can be arranged via the website.
About Jonathan Karrant
Jonathan Karrant is one of Las Vegas’s premier song stylists. Audiences have characterized Jonathan as a great interpreter of song, a storyteller, a singer who brings music and lyric alive. Some refer to Jonathan as an amazing song-stylist who sings from the American songbook, an entertainer of star quality. Others say he paints a picture, he presents a mood and captivates a room through song. Jazz Corner said, “Karrant’s voice is romantic without being cloying, warm but not forced” and “that he sings standards with an emotional weight that make it seem as if he had written the songs himself”. He will tell you that he loves people, loves connecting with other musicians and with his audience, and loves sharing time with those who also love to celebrate life and music.
Jonathan’s album “On and On” hit to number four in the jazz charts. The album features such songs as “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Doodlin’”, as well as the title track, and was produced by Tyler Monks, with pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Rob Thorsen, guitarist Mark Shapiro, and drummer Duncan Moore.
Jonathan was honored in the 2014 New York City Jazz Cabaret Honors and, in 2015, he was voted “Best Singer” for the Bravo San Diego Awards. Also, in 2015 Jonathan was asked to present two-time Grammy Award winner, Diane Schuur, with the proclamation of “Diane Schuur Day” in Palm Springs, Ca.
In his popular single, “Lady in Red”, Jonathan truly shines. Backed by pianist Mikan Zlatkovich, bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Duncan Moore, Karrant sets himself apart from other contemporaries on this single. Ultimately, he displays a brilliance through phrasing and languid passages that linger.
About Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS)
GALS is a tuition-free public middle school and the only all-girls Charter school in southern Nevada. GALS specializes in the needs of adolescent middle school girls going through a very important growth period in their lives. Their program is comprehensive, fostering academic excellence, and emotional and physical well-being for over 100 girls. GALS is a special place where sisterhood is nurtured and understanding of one’s self and what is important to each of us is enlightened.
Class sizes are small, allowing teachers to get know students well, and help successfully guide them through middle school so that they will be well prepared for high school, college and beyond. GALS forms Wellness Teams™ and students are assigned a Coach™ who will serve as their primary adviser through the school year. GALS Las Vegas fosters the academic excellence and personal development necessary for every girl to become a powerful advocate for herself and leaders in their community.