Friday, April 4, 2014

UCHS Jazz Band Workshops with Peter Martin

The University City High School Jazz Band recently spent an afternoon with famed jazz pianist Peter Martin.  The band was invited, as they have been for the past ten years, to participate in a workshop at the Sheldon Concert Hall  in Grand Center.

Students had the outstanding opportunity to perform for Martin (himself a UCHS alum, class of 1987), who then gave them detailed feedback on their performance.  Students were free to ask questions, and topics covered included everything from how to achieve a more authentic New Orleans jazz sound to the complexities of syncopation to what makes the blues sound like the blues.

The workshop concluded with Martin accompanying the band on the piano, enabling these lucky students to claim that not only have they performed in one of the premiere concert halls in the nation, but also that they have played with one of the most acclaimed jazz pianists of our time.

Jazz Band Director Stan Coleman (a Yale University Distinguished Educator) consistently seeks out educational and performance opportunities for his students.  Over the years they have had the opportunity to work and play with many locally and nationally known musicians. In 2012 the jazz band won ten awards at the UMKC Jazz Festival, and they look forward to future festivals and competitions.

University City High School has a proud tradition of producing outstanding musicians, including the likes of Peter Martin, Jeremy Davenport, Marty Ehrlich, Ronnie Burrage, Wayne du Maine, David Harris, and most recently 2013 grad Zach Morrow, who just last week performed at the Monterrey Next Generation Jazz Festival. 

You can catch the current crop of UCHS jazz legends, along with some returning alumni, when they perform at the Starlight Concert Series this summer at Heman Park!

Band Director Stan Coleman
with Peter Martin

Photos by Kim Deitzler.