The Jazz Diversity Project traveled to the western side of the state for a three-day tour (Nov.9-11), making stops in Rapid City as part of the Rapid City Chamber Music Society's series, Custer and Hot Springs Middle Schools, and Oelrichs and Edgemont Schools. Over 650 students listened and learned from the Dakota Jazz Collective as they covered the history of jazz music from its birth in New Orleans to contemporary jazz music today. (In photo from left to right - Matt Wallace, saxophone, Jim Speirs, trumpet, Jeremy Hegg, keyboard. Dakota Jazz Collective also includes Bobby Gripp, drums, and Andrew Reinartz, upright bass.) We were so happy to have the very talented Matt Wallace from Omaha, NE with us! Matt is an 11-year veteran of the Maynard Ferguson Big Band and has traveled the world spreading the good word of jazz. He is a fantastic player and was a great addition for the program.
We were excited to perform the Jazz Diversity Project to an adult audience in Rapid City. This was the first time the Black Hills Chamber Music Society had promoted a jazz concert, so we were the guinea pig to an extremely receptive audience that was excited to listen to and learn about jazz. Thanks to the BHCMS for broadening its progamming!
INSIDER INFO: This is how how precise our packing has to be in order to fit all musicians, instruments and luggage into a 15 passenger van. Packing has become a fun game for us all - we have it down to a science.
Our visit to Oelrichs School opened our minds and warmed our hearts. The Jazz Diversity Project followed the town's Veteran's Day program in the school gym, so many towns folk were invited to stay for our presentation. The band students became our "roadies" and helped us unload and load the instruments and gear. We also had the great opportunity to stay and have lunch with the students afterward. So many of the students had a great interest in pursuing music lessons and learning more about jazz music and the musicians enjoyed connecting with students over a meal.
The Jazz Diversity Project is made possible through sponsorships and grants from the Larson Foundation, First Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard, the South Dakota Humanities Council, the South Dakota Community Foundation, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.
Jazz 101 - For Adults: Women of Jazz was held at CJ Callaway's on Thursday, Nov. 13th. The turn out of this first-ever adult education program exceeded our expectations as around 40 music lovers learned about Anita O'Day, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Tierney Sutton from Dr. Paul Schilf, professor of jazz studies from Augustana College. Sponsors for this event were Tre Lounge and K & M Music.
Due to the interest in this program, we're planning to do more Jazz 101 - For Adults on a wide array of jazz-related topics. Check out our website, www.sfjb.org, for future Jazz 101 - For Adults dates.