Jazz residency program to engage students, community
A diverse line-up of leading jazz musicians will engage students, schools and communities across Michigan as the sixth year of the MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program kicks off in October at Michigan State University.
The residency program brings high-level talent to spend a week mentoring MSU jazz and K-12 students at schools across the state. Coordinated by the MSU College of Music and supported by a $1 million endowment by the MSU Federal Credit Union, the program follows the jazz tradition of established musicians passing on their knowledge to aspiring musicians. The lineup of working musicians, composers and educators includes artists Melissa Aldana, Mark Whitfield, Mimi Jones and Steve Davis.
“Jazz is a spoken language that is passed on from generation to generation,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “Our residency program brings amazing jazz musicians to Michigan who travel across the state, mentor young musicians and build support for school and community music programs.
Aldana, a jazz saxophonist, will be the first artist coming to MSU, and will hold her residency Sunday, Oct. 6. The Chilean-born musician came to the scene as a teenager, performing at the Panama Jazz Festival, Blue Note Jazz Club and Monterey Jazz Festival. While at MSU, Aldana will mentor College of Music students, as well as perform for the public. She will also visit high schools and art academies statewide. At 8 p.m. on Oct. 5 in Fairchild Theatre, she will perform with MSU Jazz Orchestras I and II.
“Aldana is the perfect artist to kick-off our sixth season and energize students through her incredible depth as a young jazz saxophonist,” said associate director of Jazz Studies Diego Rivera. “She plays with a vibrancy and flair that I’m sure will inspire our students and all jazz lovers.”
The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest investment in the college’s curriculum and provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration and performance opportunities with some of the world’s best jazz musicians.
Each year, artists in residence travel with MSU’s jazz ensembles to give 16 performances across the state in support of jazz programs at non-profit organizations and at middle and high schools. All combined, the residencies of the 20 artists included workshops, concerts, events and outreach to more than 25,000 students and adults in communities across Michigan.
For media: Aldana and MSU Professors of Jazz are available to for interviews at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the MSUFCU headquarters.