EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation's jazz education program for fourth and fifth graders, returns to Eagle County schools Monday through Thursday. The program features a quintet of professional musician-educators who travel to all 16 local elementary schools to share their love of jazz and American history and try to inspire young people to embrace jazz, America's own art form.
This second session of the four-part program examines the foundation of jazz music - the rhythm section.
"We want to introduce the kids to the heart of jazz; the cool combination of drums, piano and bass forms the core of all jazz music", said program director Tony Gulizia. "Now we add in the saxophone and percussion to create a clean, cool sound they love."
The children have the opportunity to not only hear the quintet play but also to participate by playing special melodic and percussion instruments. Later in the Jazz Goes to School curriculum, the older students try their hand at writing their own jazz music. The final concert includes blues compositions created by the fifth graders, performed in medley at the final concert.
Gulizia is not the only one who appreciates how Jazz Goes to School makes a difference for local kids. Vail Resorts Echo, the ski company's philanthropy program, has identified Jazz Goes to School as a necessary and valuable way to help bring the arts back into our schools.
"Vail Resorts supports Jazz Goes to School as an incredibly important program that teaches the wonders of jazz to the children of Eagle County," said Nicky DeFord, manager of charitable giving for Vail Resorts Echo.
"We encourage parents of fourth and fifth graders to attend their children's programs next week to share their enthusiasm for what they're learning. Their love for the program can be really infectious," says Robin Litt, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation.
Gulizia (keyboard and vocals) directs the Jazz Goes to School program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. Gulizia is joined by his brother, Joey, who is also a professional jazz musician and educator, on drums. Other musicians-educators performing this week include Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (saxophone), and Mike Gurciullo (trumpet).