Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Changing How Jazz Bands Work in the Central District

 Contact: Arlene Fairfield, 206-898-8795 or jazzupjacksonstreet@gmail.com
Increasing equity and demographic representation in Seattle Public Schools’ music programs in the Central District is a priority. See the attached release and event notice to kick-off this effort as part of the Earshot Festival line-up to benefit the music programs at Garfield HS, Washington MS and many of the pipeline elementary schools in the Central District. 
The schools are teaming up Earshot to put on Jazz Up Jackson Street, a one-night jazz blowout featuring star alumni musicians (list available upon request) and future jazz legends. An important aspect of this work is to support access and equity and create more diverse demographic representation in music programs at our schools.
Media release:


WHO: Garfield HS, Washington MS, Earshot Jazz
WHAT: Jazz Up Jackson Street Performance
WHEN: Thursday, October 10, 2019 | Doors Open – 6PM | Concert Starts – 7PM
WHERE: Town Hall, 1119 8 th Ave, Seattle
ONLINE: https://www.jazzupjacksonstreet.org

Seattle, WA – September 13, 2019:  Following the retirement of Clarence Acox, Garfield High School’s legendary jazz band director, student musicians and educators at Garfield and Washington
Middle School are determined to carry on a standard of rigorous music learning AND shake
things up.

“Music programs in the Central District have a long history of awards and national recognition
that has helped create its legacy. However, the participating musicians have often represented
only a fraction of the demographics in our schools,” says Jared Sessink, the new Director of
Bands, Jazz and Drumlines at Garfield.

Historically, students of color have been under-represented in many of the schools’ music
ensembles. “My colleagues and I share a focused goal of building equitable and inclusive
systems in the music programs at our schools in the CD, starting with Washington Middle
School, which is a primary feeder program for Garfield” stated Sessink. “This requires
acknowledgement of systems that have led to the exclusion of marginalized groups,
particularly in our most advanced ensembles, and working collaboratively with music teachers
and district leaders to disrupt these harmful trends.”

To that end, the schools are teaming up with the annual Earshot Jazz Festival to put on Jazz
Up Jackson Street, an all-star alumni and student fundraising concert on October 10 at Town
Hall. Significant resources are needed for some of the changes that are already being put into
place. For example, starting this year, all 6 th grade Washington Middle School students will be
enrolled in a performing ensemble (Band/Choir/Orchestra) requiring the purchase of
instruments, books, and instruction to ensure that all students can participate fully and equally.

Proceeds will also go to providing additional instrument coaching for beginner level musicians,
outreach and support for feeder elementary schools, purchasing higher quality school owned
instruments, and developing a more culturally responsive music curriculum.

About Jazz up Jackson Street
A first-time big-band jazz concert supporting students from Garfield HS & Washington Middle
School as they team up with all-star alumni and the annual Earshot Jazz Festival to promote
increased equity in school music programs.


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Anonymous said...

Q: What does "increasing demographic representation" even mean in the Central District now that it is less than 15% POC?

A: More of the same Seattle-style empty virtue signaling.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very worthwhile program. Yes it is aimed at getting more kids of color involved in music but it will be helping the music programs at all the feeder elementary and middle schools so its a win for all the students. I wish all kids in middle school could either be in a choir or in a band.


Anonymous said...

If it's an equity issue then the district needs to directly fund it. Equity cannot be optional.

Theo Moriarty