The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced today that its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program will visit Fargo and Sioux Falls public schools from April 16-20. Accompanied by renowned teaching artists Don Braden and Lisa Henry, six of the country’s most gifted high school music students will present educational “informances” (informational performances) and workshops for thousands of students.
Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the touring students will talk with their Fargo and Sioux Falls peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values jazz represents: teamwork; freedom with responsibility; unity with ethnic diversity; the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment; and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.
The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Dakotas tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 17, and alto saxophonist Julian Gonzalez, 17, from Miami; guitarist Jordan Reifkind, 17, and bassist Dario Bizio, 16, from Los Angeles; pianist Tyler Henderson, 16, from Houston; and drummer Jeremiah Collier, 17, from Chicago. All of the students participate in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program, receiving ongoing instruction from the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists and performing with world-renowned guest artists.
The weeklong tour, coinciding with Jazz Appreciation Month and the run-up to International Jazz Day, will conclude with a performance open to the public on April 20 at Sioux Falls’ premier listening venue, Fernson on 8th, where Sioux Falls residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Braden and Henry alongside jazz’s future young lions.
For more information on the April tour, check out the press release.