Jazzanooga Launches Music Program For Chattanooga's Youth

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jazzanooga has launched a sustainable community based music program for underserved youth. Concerned that music programs in public schools had been dramatically curtailed, Jazzanooga will provide a four month pilot music education and performance program provided free of charge to underserved youth, ages 12-18 within the Hamilton County school system with little or no access to the arts. The program is inspirational with a distinctive approach to music education, said officials.

The Jazzanooga Youth Academy will offer progressive, sequential music skill building and personal learning opportunities for up to 20 students on Saturdays.  Performance opportunities, individually and within an ensemble, will be showcased at the end of the project during Jazzanooga’s Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April.

“I strongly believe that music and arts education is a profound and necessary element that will contribute greatly to a child’s development,” states Shane Morrow, director of Jazzanooga.  “I’m a product of it and forever grateful that my family allotted me the opportunity for music education as a youth.  It allowed me to discover and develop so many crucial life building skills that I continually access today.”

Musical leadership and instruction to the students will be provided by Dexter Bell, band member of The Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and local Hamilton county school system music director who has over 20 years of teaching experience. 

Mr. Bell states, “The vision I see for this academy is to foster relationships with community and talented teens based on the notion that music is created and enhanced through using jazz as a medium. It will contribute significantly towards the social, cultural and economic well-being of our underserved communities in Chattanooga.”

Rehearsals will take place on Saturdays at The Bessie Smith Cultural Center from 12-2:30 p.m. beginning in late January.  

Open auditions will be on Saturdays, Jan. 18 and 25, beginning at 12:30 p.m. for Hamilton County students, who have been playing for at least six months, enthusiastic about learning jazz and have reached a certain level of proficiency on their instrument.

For more information, please go to Jazzanooga.org or email Shane Morrow at shane.r.morrow@gmail.com.


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