Weekly Feature

2017-05-18 / Education

Fifth Jazz@JFK clinic aims to inspire students through storytelling, skill building

by ALAN RIZZO
Reporter


Senior Kai Phanhthalath, a trumpet player in John F. Kennedy High School’s jazz ensemble, practices on Tuesday prior to Jazz@JFK V, a jazz clinic and concert happening at the school on Friday and Saturday. Featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trumpet player Marcus Printup, the event is aimed at building interest and support for jazz education in Cheektowaga high schools. 
Photo by Sarah McIlhattenPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Senior Kai Phanhthalath, a trumpet player in John F. Kennedy High School’s jazz ensemble, practices on Tuesday prior to Jazz@JFK V, a jazz clinic and concert happening at the school on Friday and Saturday. Featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trumpet player Marcus Printup, the event is aimed at building interest and support for jazz education in Cheektowaga high schools. Photo by Sarah McIlhattenPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com After four years of bringing famous musicians to Cheektowaga students through Jazz@JFK, John F. Kennedy High School Principal Kevin Kazmierczak says he’s not done working to get students excited about jazz.

The former director of music and bands for Buffalo Public Schools and a lover and player of jazz music himself, said despite growing interest among students and families in the Cheektowaga Sloan, Cleveland Hill and Cheektowaga Central school districts, he plans to continue to send the message that students can become pro jazz players through hard work.

“We want students from Cheektowaga to understand that they could be just like this guy, or that lady, whoever comes in,” he said, favoring jazz music for its effect on the mind. “The only type of art form that really encourages improvisation and creativity on the spot, is jazz. It’s a thinking person’s music.”

This year’s clinic, dubbed Jazz@JFK V, will celebrate that art form, bringing in professional trumpet player Marcus Printup for clinics with students on Friday, and for a concert featuring high school jazz ensembles on Saturday.

Printup is a longtime member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Manhattan who has played with renowned musicians such as pianist Marcus Roberts and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He said he hopes to share the skills he’s gathered over his 25-year career, feeling obligated to give back and to tell how formative experiences playing in Baptist churches in Georgia influenced his style.

“That’s a part of how I play,” he said. “That certain moan, that certain emotion that I have in my playing, I know where I get it from, and I love spreading that to students.”

Printup said questions from students during the clinic will also give him an opportunity to reflect on his musical journey and to tell students stories to encourage them to take that journey, as he did.

“Sometimes we tend to take for granted the process that we have gone through to become successful, or become as accomplished as we are,” he said, remembering a clinic he attended in college where influential trumpet player Clark Terry related his jazz experiences. “Most of the cats that I learned from when I was in my early developmental stages are gone, so I realize that I’m carrying the torch, and I want to give it to them.”

Senior Kai Phanhthalath, a trumpet player in JFK’s jazz ensemble, said he’ll be observing Printup’s solos carefully for ways to improve his articulation, tone and embouchure, or the way the player of a brass or wind instrument positions the lips, tongue and teeth when playing.

“As a trumpet player, you kind of look up to someone that’s famous, and just seeing someone who’s been around the world just for practicing trumpet, it’s quite nice,” he said.

Soft-spoken senior Ke’rrah Bell, a trombone player in the ensemble who plans to study music business soon at Villa Maria College, said she hopes to get pointers from Printup on improving the volume and quality of her playing.

Bass player Brianna Smith, a junior at JFK, said she hopes playing songs such as “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Fool Me Once” with Printup will give her insight into how to better blend her sound into the ensemble.

The Jazz@JFK V concert will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, in the auditorium of the high school, 305 Cayuga Creek Road.

Tickets for the concert are $7 presale, $10 at the door, and $5 for veterans and students from schools participating in the clinic. They can be ordered by calling 891-6407.

To learn more about Marcus Printup, visit www.Mar cusPrintup.net.

email: arizzo@beenews.com

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