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Monterey Jazz Festival Announces Expanded Partnership With North Carolina Central University (119 hits)

The Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) proudly announces an expanded partnership with North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In 2023, the Jazz Combo from NCCU took the top prize in MJF’s first-ever national HBCU Jazz Combo Challenge and won the opportunity to perform at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA last September.

This year, NCCU Jazz Studies has launched a new partnership with MJF that will bring MJF to the NCCU campus in North Carolina in April 2024 during Jazz Appreciation Month. Activities will begin immediately through the selection of the first Monterey Jazz @ NCCU High-School All Star Jazz Band and Vocal Ensemble who will be selected by audition. Auditions are open to high school jazz musicians and singers from across the state. The All Stars will rehearse and perform together on April 17 through April 19 on the NCCU campus.

In addition, high school students will be invited to participate in a two-day program on April 18 and 19 that will include an open rehearsal with NCCU’s Artist-in-Residence, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, workshops on college pathways, and panel discussions on careers in the music industry, led by arts professionals from various jazz fields, and more. Featured panelists include Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds, NCCU’s Department Chair and Director of Graduate Programs, Jazz Studies; Colleen Bailey, Executive Director of MJF; Darin Atwater, Artistic Director of MJF; and Robert Trowers, NCCU’s Director of Jazz Studies. The program will culminate with a performance by the MJF’s new Artistic Director, pianist/composer Darin Atwater and the NCCU High School All Star Jazz Band.

North Carolina Central University’s Jazz Studies program has earned a reputation as one of the premier university programs. Started by the great jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd and brought to prominence by legendary saxophonist, flutist and educator Dr. Ira Wiggins, NCCU’s jazz faculty include artists-in-residence Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo, in addition to department faculty Jazz Studies Director and director of NCCU’s Combo 1, Robert Trowers (trombone); Albert Strong (trumpet); Dr. Lenora Helm Hammonds (vocals and director of NCCU’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble); Maurice Myers (vocals); Jim Crew (piano); J.C. Martin (guitar); Thomas Taylor (drums and percussion); Damon Brown (bass); Shaena Ryan (reeds and saxophone); and Keenan McKenzie (saxophones).

The mission of Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF) is to inspire the discovery and celebration of jazz, anchored by an iconic festival. Founded in 1958, MJF envisions a sustainable organization that sets the standard of excellence for jazz, connects a diverse community, and helps people appreciate and learn about jazz as fans and performers.

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) prepares students to succeed in the global marketplace. Consistently ranked as a top Historically Black College or University, NCCU’s flagship programs in the sciences, education, law, business, nursing, and the arts prepare students for professions ranging from clinical research to information science. Founded in 1910, NCCU remains committed to diversity in and access to higher education. With a mission to investigate health disparities, the university’s two state-of-the-art research institutes give students real-world experience working alongside faculty researchers and pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry professionals. The university’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024, Charting a New Landscape for Student-Center Success, focuses on four areas: student access and success; innovation, research, and entrepreneurship; collaboration and partnerships; and institutional sustainability. Visit www.nccu.edu.
Posted By: Reginald Culpepper
Friday, February 16th 2024 at 7:02PM
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