The University City Musician Documentary Project recently posted this blog on the University City Patch. We love what it has to say about the district's rich heritage in music and arts education and how they prepare our students for future careers both in and out of the music and arts fields.
U. City Native Tom Seltzer Brings Jazz Icons To Life In New York City
Music and the music programs of the University City School District have affected students and influenced their entire lives even if they didn't go on to be professional musicians.
While researching and interviewing for this music documentary project, we have found that music and arts education as part of the general education in the University City Public Schools has been at the core of what the district has wanted to instill in all students and it's literally written in stone on the front of University City Senior High School. Whether or not students go on to be professional musicians or not has not been the goal. Rounding out pupils and giving them a broad base of knowledge and artistic sensibilities to take on to their careers for the rest of their lives seems to have been the aim.
U. City native and UCHS alumni of the class of 1988 Tom Seltzer is an illustrator, graphic designer, and marketing expert in New York City and has been there since he graduated from Columbia University. Even though he managed to make a living working for some of the largest financial firms in the world doing information graphics and artwork for years, he never really forgot or lost the influence that participation as a saxophonist in the bands at Brittany Woods and U. City High gave him.
Tom more than freely admits that he was never destined to be a professional musician of any sort because of that involvement, let alone go on to be one of the truly great jazz musicians that were in U. City during his era like Todd Williams, Jeremy Davenport,Peter Martin, or Christopher Thomas. But that acknowledgement does not mean that music had not permanently influenced his work and artistic expression.
Thursday, May 30th in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York, Tom is debuting his original print series "Jazz" at "Dizzy's On Fifth", a restaurant and music venue. Stepping away slightly from his "day job" of running his own design studio and producing work for others, Tom has chosen to portray his interpretation of 11 of the greatest jazz icons ever in his own style for himself and for others to appreciate (or even buy). Fresh looks at Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins are what Tom has put up for the world to see and even get at home on his website. He has even invited his sister Eve Seltzer, another U. City native and UCHS graduate to come and perform with The 11th Street Trio for the evening's entertainment.
And beyond the debut of Tom's own artwork with storied musicians, he has already teamed up with musicians of today to help them interpret their artistic visions. Internationally known jazz musicians like Nicholas Payton and David Gilmore as well as noted Broadway musical theater composer and U. City native Jeremy Schonfeld have called on Tom and his skills. And even more noteworthy because of the nature of this blog, we want to let you know that Tom is the designer of the logo for The University City Musician Documentary Project also, at the request of the director of the project Rod Milam.
Tom is one of many people we have found so far who have passed through the music programs of the University City School District, not gone on to become a musician or music professional, but have used the influence of the music classes they had later on in their lives and careers. This pattern seems to show that what many of the music educators we've interviewed so far were trying to do was successful. Their main goal of not producing professional musicians, but producing people literate in the world of music to the point where applying some of what they learned in class to their lives, lives on. And it seems to live on so well in some former students that expressing that musical influence today is as natural to them as using parts of any of the other disciplines they were taught in school. This and some other factors seem to be what makes up the soul of many of the U. Citians far and wide that we've encountered so far.
The original posting of this article can be found here