Education VP Begins September Performing Arts High Schools Education Tour

Vice President for Education & Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas began a marathon tour of public schools this month as part of the Institute’s national Performing Arts High Schools (PAHS) initiative. The tour will take Dr. Dyas to six partner schools in five states and include intensive instruction for students and faculty across a variety of settings.

Partner schools served on this tour include the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas, Texas; Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey; and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Taken together, the six institutions represent a high-achieving cross-section of the nation’s public performing arts high schools. They boast an impressive cohort of graduates, counting renowned jazz masters like Wayne Shorter, Sarah Vaughan, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Norah Jones and Roy Hargrove among their alumni.

Institute Vice President for Education & Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas works with students at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, September 2018. Photo courtesy of Kinder HSPVA.

As part of his in-school visits, which are designed to complement the Institute’s year-round program of daily and weekly instruction by professional jazz artists, Dr. Dyas provides faculty development training, rehearses the schools’ big bands and smaller jazz combos, presents master classes and workshops, and gives private lessons. The visits have proven to be a highlight of each school’s jazz education offerings.

About PAHS

The Performing Arts High Schools initiative brings the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists into performing arts-focused secondary schools in cities across the country. The Institute provides consultation on curriculum development and instructional methodology, regular visits by guest artists and educators, private lessons, and intensive instruction. In addition, the Institute invites combos from selected schools to participate in weeklong Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours in which the students perform with world-renowned jazz musicians in public high schools across the nation.

Learn more about our public school-based education programs.

Institute Students, Alumni Represented at 23rd Central Avenue Jazz Festival

Students in the Institute’s Los Angeles-area public school-based education programs received top billing at last weekend’s Central Avenue Jazz Festival, a decades-old LA institution. Also on offer were multiple ensembles led by alumni of both the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Competitions.

On Saturday, June 28th, the Thelonious Monk Institute / LAUSD All-City Big Band delivered an hourlong set of classic and contemporary music on the Etta James Stage. A collaboration between the Institute and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell after-school program, the All-City band enlists some of the district’s most talented student musicians for regular instruction and rehearsal with master teaching artists, as well as high-profile public performances throughout the year. Trombonist Ido Meshulam, from the Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2016, and trumpeter Chad Willis served as special guests for the performance.

Separately, the Thelonious Monk Institute / LAUSD All-Star Combo gave a 45-minute performance at the nearby Dunbar Hotel. An historic property, in its heyday the Dunbar routinely hosted top names in jazz, including Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, and formed a key locale for Los Angeles’ African-American community in the 1930s and ’40s.

Conducted by Institute Vice President of Education & Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas, the Thelonious Monk Institute / LAUSD All-City Big Band performs on the Etta James Stage during the 23rd annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival.

Later in the day, the festival hosted a special “All-Star Alumni Jam Session” on its Jazz Improv stage, featuring a house band made up of recent alumni of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance. Alto saxophonist Alex Hahn ’18, pianist Miro Sprague ’14, bassist Alex Boneham ’16 and drummer Christian Euman ’16 kept things swinging for nearly four hours while a packed crowd of local musicians, including festival performers and students from the All-City Band, sat in and played.

LAUSD Beyond the Bell Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Tony White with the Institute’s All-Star Alumni band: Miro Sprague ’14, Alex Hahn ’18, Christian Euman ’16 and Alex Boneham ’16.

Highlights of the program on Sunday, June 29thincluded a performance by the Katalyst collective, led by alto saxophonist and Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2016 graduate David Otis, as well as sets by Institute Class of 2003 graduate and Vocals Competition winner Gretchen Parlato and Vocals Competition semifinalist Tierney Sutton.

Now in its 23rdyear, the annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival is a featured event on the Los Angeles cultural calendar. Offered entirely free and open to the public, the festival pays tribute to the historic Central Avenue corridor, at one time an “epicenter of West Coast jazz” where legendary artists like Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, Dinah Washington and Cab Calloway performed. Previous festival lineups have boasted an array of established jazz artists and rising stars, including Kenny Burrell, Pete Escovedo, Gerald Wilson, Kamasi Washington and many others.