Tuesday, June 16, 2020

“Playing Through The Changes”: A One Night Only Virtual Benefit


WHEN: Friday, June 19th, at 7:30–10:30 pm ET
: streamed on multiple platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and JAZZHOUSEKIDS.ORG
For information about donations and sponsorships or to RSVP, please visit:
100% of the funds raised for the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Relief Fund during the "Playing Through the Changes" online benefit will support the extraordinary efforts of today at the JAZZ HOUSE through music education and performance programs, keeping students engaged, faculty working , families connected and ensuring that the organization can continue to serve as a source of learning, connection and inspiration for so many.

The stars are aligned in support of Jazz House Kids, one of the nation's preeminent jazz education organizations dedicated to transforming young lives through music, at its one-night-only online benefit, "Playing Through the Changes." The uplifting and inspiring virtual concert kicks off the urgent JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Relief Fund campaign to support the organization in the wake of the international pandemic and alleviate the risk it poses to its programmatic future. .

Award-winning journalist Lester Holt, anchor of "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" and "Dateline NBC," as well as an avid musician and bass player himself, will serve as host, a repeat performance from JAZZ HOUSE KiDS' 2019 Spring Gala at City Winery NYC. The 2020 spring gala, slated for last month at the new City Winery location on Pier 57, was cancelled due to the pandemic.

The concert will feature more than 20 internationally celebrated artists, showcase young talent currently in training and the debut of the JAZZ HOUSE Alumni Super Band, made up of 75 graduates of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS who have come together in a spectacular performance to support the HOUSE they call used to call HOME.

Curated by JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Artistic Chair, 6-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, the evening will feature live appearances and exceptional moments from the archives with musical greats in concert and conversationChick Corea, Dianne Reeves Music, David Sanborn, Andra Day, Ingrid Jensen, Wynton Marsalis, Angélique Kidjo, Eddie Palmieri, Bill Charlap Trio, Ravi Coltrane, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diana Krall, José James, Sheila E., the Christian McBride Big Band featuring Melissa Walker, and the late Al Jarreau and George Duke—all of whom have mentored and performed with JAZZ HOUSE students over the years.

The celebrated jazz artists come together for a dynamic show of support for an organization that has served more than 50,000 young people and presented student performances for over half a million music fans. The world-renowned organization and its students have received more than 100 national and regional awards, including top honors from the Discover Jersey Arts People's Choice Award three years in a row for the Montclair Jazz Festival, produced by JAZZ HOUSE KiDS , and attended by more than 15,000 music fans each year.

The "Playing Through the Changes" Benefit Concert brings the essence of a remarkable organization and its memorable moments to life. CHRISTIAN McBRIDE explains, "To be mentored by and actually get to play with the jazz luminaries they have admired and tried to emulate in their own musicianship is life-changing for a student, and you will get to witness that magic on June 19th."

Establishment of the JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Relief Fund
In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the JAZZ HOUSE continues to connect with hundreds of young people to make music and find community, opportunity, continuity, and support. The organization met the moment admirably bringing all instruction and extra jazz education classes online for hundreds of students, creating pre-recorded masterclasses for underserved in-school programs, launched a global summer camp offering that is reaching from New Jersey to London and Singapore, while providing direct aid and food to their most hard-hit families.

For 18 years, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has delivered programming that engages and excites students, promotes harmony and collaboration, builds musicianship and provides a glide path to college and beyond. But, in an instant, the world changed with the onset of COVID-19, and with it, the community that is helping to advance the personal journeys of some amazing young people. Since mid-March, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS barely missed a beat as students, alumni, families, and faculty all turned to the organization.

According to MELISSA WALKER, president & founder of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, the goal remains to offer students caring, consistency, and continuity-precious commodities that are essential to maintaining a sense of security and peace of mind.

"We are hearing from both students and their parents that the JAZZ HOUSE provides much more than music education: our online classes provide a needed routine, a chance for students to socialize and stay connected with their peers, and a likely therapeutic opportunity to focus intensively on something other than the news and pandemic," said Walker.

Addressing the social isolation caused by the nation-wide shelter in place, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS was one of the first organizations to launch weekly online arts programming, the "Hang @ Home" Friday Night Listening Series with Christian McBride and Melissa Walker on Facebook Live. Each week they invite their friends—acclaimed jazz artists—to play highlights of their favorite artists, swap stories, and answer questions from the public. It has become a must attend event drawing close to 160,000 viewers from over 50 countries and counting.

Juneteenth - Black Lives Matter
"As JAZZ HOUSE KiDS recognizes the critical role of arts education and the cultural legacy of jazz on June 19th—155 years after this country first commemorated the end of slavery—we also pay tribute to the descendants who created 'America's homegrown music,' now embraced worldwide as a symbol of freedom and expression," said Melissa Walker.

"Today, we lift our voices in one chorus to denounce the unconscionable and continuous improper wielding of power, brutality and wanton death of black people in this country. Our instrument for change is JAZZ, born in the African-American experience and struggle, rooted in the looting of an enslaved people and shared with the world as a challenge to work toward a better tomorrow. We at JAZZ HOUSE KiDS hope that through the democracy of jazz, our students, the families of our students, and our friends and supporters have found love and empathy in knowing people different from themselves. Therefore, the song of America should and will change. Our young people are watching us at this critical time," said Walker.

As a token of your appreciation, you will receive the Jazz House Kids Digital Quarantine Playlist to wash away the blues with jazz. Specially curated by Christian McBride and Melissa Walker with selections for our from many guest artists including Dianne Reeves Music, Cecile McLorin Salvant Music, Kurt Elling, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Mark Whitfield, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Marcus Printup, Freddie Hendrix, John Clayton, Steve Wilson, Veronica Swift and more….