Afternoon Concert at JCS for SAGE Academy Charter School

Last Thursday afternoon, Oct.27, JCS hosted a demonstration/concert for the SAGE Academy Charter High School at our studio. It was an exciting moment in our out-reach programs (tempted to call it In-reach) as this was our first opportunity to actually have a sponsored “field trip” that gave an opportunity for high school students to listen to live jazz music in our music venue. Interacting with the students and their exposure to the values and process can really create a better understanding of the richness of the Jazz culture.

Performing that day was the Rodney Ruckus quartet featuring Rodney Rocques on drums, Greg Byers on cello, Javier Santiago on piano and Omar Abdulkareem on trumpet and fluegel . The musicians performed superbly and I got to talk to the students about the music and the musicians.The students asked questions and the musicians responded with great enthusiasm. Altogether it was about an hour and a half presentation.

Here’s a little note from Lois Elrod, the chief organizer of the experience:
“I hope you know how big a deal it was for me, Les, Marilyn, and the kids to be at Jazz Central yesterday. When we got back to school, we had a few minutes in the classroom before they were dismissed to their buses. One of the young ladies stood in front and said, “hey, everybody, I have something to say.” They got quiet and she started talking about the experience. She compared being at the venue to what it’s like when the musicians come to the school. She told them that to her, it was a very different experience to be in a place that was just for listening to music. She turned to me and said, “you go there a lot, does it ever make you cry?” I said, yeah, there have been times I’ve gotten that emotional and I’ve brought friends there who are surprised when they feel that way, too.” I was so impressed that she thought to ask me that. The class just impulsively started reflecting on their experience. Some of them were feeling embarrassed that they got sleepy. I said I have had that happen, too! It’s ok if music makes you feel that relaxed. One student said, ” ok, but it’s weird to fall asleep when some guy is going crazy on the drums like that!” It was all positive and I’m extremely glad they had this opportunity. Please pass this on to the musicians, they interacted so well with the students and had a perfect selection of music. Thanks again, I love you and all the TC jazz community so much!”

Lois’ co-organizer Les Harrison also chimed in:
“Thank you for your time, wisdom, expertise, and the amazing group of musicians you
assembled for us. They were all incredible. The students were talking about it the whole ride back and once we returned. They appreciate getting to see musicians at SAGE, but to experience the music in a venue is a completely different experience. Thanks so much! All the best.”

The worst thing that happened was that Les may have lost his favorite Chicago Cubs hat ;-(..Not good timing!

Thanks you to the musicians, organizers and assistants for making this a real special JCS moment for me. Reaching out to the young people is so important to creating a future audience!

If anyone reading this would like to know more about our In-Reach program, feel free to reach out to me at


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