Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to hold master classes for jazz ensemble students in Detroit Public Schools

Steven Wasko at 313-873-4542
Kisha Verdusco at 313-873-8401

Internationally acclaimed jazz artists Bobby Watson and Lisa Henry, along a with quintet from Miami’s New World School of the Arts, will perform and conduct jazz workshops for students at five Detroit Public Schools campuses the week of May 17-21.

DPS was one of three districts nationwide selected by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to receive this opportunity.

“I am super excited that DPS jazz ensemble students will have the opportunity to see and hear very high-achieving peers from the New World School of the Arts,” said Benjamin Pruitt, a supervisor in the DPS Office of Fine Arts Education. “This will be a peer-to-peer coaching situation, where they will get a chance to talk to students their own ages to find out how they became such high achievers.”

At each ‘informance’ – a school assembly combining performance and information – the youth performers will play various styles of jazz and talk with students about the importance of Jazz.

Afterward, the visiting student performers will play alongside their DPS peers. Following the ‘informance,’ each school will host two jazz workshops. Watson will conduct instrumental workshops and Henry, a vocalist, will conduct vocal workshops.

Special guest U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a strong promoter of the arts, will attend the first session, along with T.S. Monk Jr. and Thomas Carter, president of the Thelonious Monk Institute.

The sessions will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following schools:

Renaissance High School on Monday May 17, 2010
Detroit School of Arts on Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Duke Ellington Middle School on Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. High School on Thursday, May 20, 2010
Cass Technical High School on Friday, May 21, 2010

Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the series is a component of the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Informance Program, a national American History and Social Studies initiative designed to teach public school students about the importance of jazz in American history and culture, as well as the important values jazz represents, including teamwork, diversity and democracy.

For information about the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, visit or www.jazz

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