Vail Jazz Goes to School wraps up its seventeenth year in Eagle County with three special jazz performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on May 4 & 5 featuring the Jazz Goes to School Sextet. “This is such a rich and exciting performance and it’s a fabulous end to the lessons that have taken place throughout the school year to every 4th and 5th grade class,” said Robin Litt, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation.
The fourth and final session of the Jazz Goes to School educational program, entitled “Giants of Jzz”, features a selection of tunes that have shaped the history of jazz in America.
Local jazz musician and professional jazz educator, Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the Vail Jazz Goes to School program. “The concert includes legendary jazz tunes by Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and others”, said Gulizia. “We also perform a medley of blues compositions authored by the fifth graders as part of the concert – their lyrics are priceless!” said Gulizia.
Tony Gulizia’s brother Joey, also a professional jazz musician and educator (drummer), joins Tony on stage, as does Andy Hall (bass), Gary Regina (saxophone), Mike Gurciullo (trumpet) and Michael Pujado (congas and percussion). The sextet presents a dynamic, foot stompin’ show that pulls together all of the concepts taught in the first three classroom sessions, as demonstrated in some of Jazz’s finest works.
Vail Jazz Goes to School is presented by The Vail Jazz Foundation, a 501c3 charitable foundation dedicated to perpetuating jazz with a focus on young musicians and young audiences. The program educates over 1,100 fourth and fifth graders annually in the Eagle County School District RE-50J, plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, The Vail Academy, Stone Creek Charter School, and St. Clare of Assisi. Vail Jazz Goes to School has exposed over 17,000 local school children to jazz music since inception.
Building on the success of Vail Jazz Goes to School, Vail Jazz will offer a summer hands-on musical experience, called “Jammin’ Jazz Kids” every Sunday in July. In conjunction with Vail Jazz @ The Market at the Vail Farmers’ Market, youngsters ages 4 to 12 will be able to explore the history of Jazz along with a fun learning experience with children playing a variety of percussion instruments – maracas, bongos, congas, tambourines and Orff instruments. Participating children will also listen to and join with jazz musicians in playing music and learning the art of improvisation. Sunday programs will be 45 minutes in length and offered at no charge.
Vail Jazz Goes to School is sponsored in part by Alpine Bank, Vilar PAC Community Use Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), all fifteen elementary schools’ PTOs, United Way Eagle River Valley, Vail Resorts Echo, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Antlers at Vail, Local Joe’s Pizza, East West Resorts, Lifthouse Lodge and numerous private donors.
Vail Jazz will announce its lineup and tickets will go on sale on May 1st for the 21st Annual Vail Jazz Festival. “The Festival will host nearly 50 free and ticketed concerts in different venues throughout Vail. And will host over 150 artists who will share their passion for this original American art form with locals and visitors to Vail. Our renowned artists are chosen for their broad appeal to all ages and audiences and are highly regarded for their stage presence and entertainment value. They have great appeal even for audiences who don’t necessarily wear the ‘jazz fan’ label!” Litt commented, “We hope youngsters who got a taste of jazz through Vail Jazz Goes to School will join us this summer at the Vail Jazz Festival!”