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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA

JOI's "Jazz Routes" Presents Monaco Middle School Student Free Drum Set and Free Private Lessons

JOI Jazz Routes Presentation
From Left: Donny Thompson, Luis Abrego, Gary Cordell, Corey Scribner. Yolandus Douglas

Some of Jazz Outreach Initiative's dozen programs reach thousands of kids. Some reach hundreds. Others, like our Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra serve dozens of students. All of these efforts connect the language of music to the language of life in different and measurable ways. Sometimes profoundly.

One of our very special programs zeroes in on just one select student who has shown talent and desire to learn, but who may never have the resources to fulfill a dream. This is "Jazz Routes," which through a nomination process finds a student and changes their life, putting opportunity in their hands and bringing music to their family.

JOI partnered with the nation's largest instrument retailer, Music & Arts, to facilitate a

first of its kind instrument donation program where not only is an instrument donated, but through grants, business sponsorships, and individual donors, also pays for the most expensive part of owning an instrument... learning how to play it.

While Music & Arts normally provides the instruments of choice at no cost, occasionally an individual offers a unique gift of a high quality ready-to-play instrument. Recently, Executive Dir., Donny Thompson and VP Education & Programming Gary Cordell, were contacted by Mr. Corey Scribner with an offer of a nearly brand new drum set. JOI typically doesn't include drum sets in Jazz Routes due to cost, but being nearly new, we accepted it.

It just so happens that one of our professional Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra mentors and drummer with our professional big band, the JOI Jazz Orchestra, Mr. Yolandus Douglas, is also a band director at Monaco Middle School, a Title 1 school in east Las Vegas. Mr. Douglas said he has a student who would be perfect for this gift and invited us to attend Monaco MS's holiday concert Thursday Dec. 15th for our Jazz Routes presentation.

Corey recently learning about JOI and joined our JOI Jazz Alliance volunteer group, stating that music had a profound effect on him as a child and he wanted to pay it forward for others.

During the concert, we were blessed to have the opportunity to present this gift with Mr. Scribner present to 8th grader, Luis Abrego. Luis said he was excited to learn the drum set and practice enough to "get as good as Mr. Douglas," then corrected himself, saying, "Maybe better!"

Friends, this is what "Making A Difference" looks like. When we say we're "Spreading JOI," this is what we mean. Through the generosity of so many, Jazz Outreach Initiative is building a community unified around the arts through our next generation - one soul at a time.

Thank you to all our supporters, our friends at Music & Arts, Mr. Scribner, Mr. Douglas, and congratulations Luis on your musical journey!

From Left: Gary Cordell (JOI VP Education & Programming), Siobhan Fergiels (Dir. of Bands - Cheyenne HS), Corey Scribner (JOI Jazz Alliance Volunteer and Jazz Routes Donor), Donny Thompson (JOI Exec. Dir.)

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