Watch the April 4th Informance with trumpeter Terell Stafford hosted by the U.S. Dept. of Education
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 • 1:00 PM ET
Washington, DC – The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education will present a peer-to-peer jazz informance on April 4, featuring the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, the “informance” – a combination of performance and educational information – will be presented by a group comprising gifted music students from Baltimore, New York, and Washington, DC public high schools along with internationally acclaimed jazz trumpet recording artist Terell Stafford and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas.
The informance will be held at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) headquarters building in Washington, D.C., beginning at 1 pm ET, and livestreamed at the U.S. Department of Education’s media link here, to hundreds of school districts in the United States and around the world. The focus will be on raising the bar of music education in our public schools nationwide. Raising the bar in all areas of public school education, arts and academics alike, is the primary mission of U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Department.
Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk to their like-age audience across the country and around the world not only about jazz – America’s indigenous musical art form – and its significance in American history and culture, but also about the importance of finding a passion for something early in life, working hard at it, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.
“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz,” said Herbie Hancock, Chairman of the Institute, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”
The members of the Quintet include alto saxophonist Quinn Rehkemper and drummer Julian Frazier from the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA); tenor saxophonist Seif Gharsellaoui from the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, and pianist Jose Andre Montano from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Rounding out the quintet will be BSA’s director of jazz studies, Ed Hrybyk on bass.
“What an incredible learning experience it is to perform with Mr. Stafford,” said Rehkemper, who performed at last year’s ED jazz informance with jazz great Sean Jones. “Preparing the music of these two jazz masters, not to mention the prestigious opportunity to perform once again at the US Department of Education to highlight the multifaceted value of music education in our public schools, is incredibly educational and gratifying.”
In addition to learning how to read music and play an instrument, studying jazz also teaches students how music works in order to improvise and express their own unique thoughts and feelings musically. The study of jazz also teaches the life skills and deeply held American values that jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, persistence & perseverance, democracy, and the vital importance of really listening to one another.
“Music is a big part of my family’s life,” Secretary Cardona said in regards to last year’s informance, “There’s a level of listening, interdependence and collaboration that goes on in jazz that we can all learn from.”
While the informance in the auditorium at the US Department of Education can only accommodate a limited, invited audience of selected students, teachers, principals, and ED officials, it will be streamed nationally and internationally so all may partake.
“Jazz mirrors life in improvisation and in connecting with people around you,” added the Secretary. “Music and the arts give us a window into different cultures – and cultures are an expression of many kinds of music. It’s been said that music is the art that goes from the ears straight to the heart.”