Middle Schoolers Are Jazz Inspired

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Students at Hampton Bays Middle School celebrated national “Music in Our Schools Month” in March with a variety of “Origins of American Jazz: Rhythm, Music and Dance” events, including: instruction, dance, mural painting and a concert with professional musicians.

The culmination of the month-long immersion in jazz was a concert given by the Rhythm Kings Ensemble at the middle school cafetorium on Wednesday, March 24. During the concert, professional musicians James Shipp, Daisy Shumake-Taylor, Misha Tsygenou, Paul Ramsey and Napoleon Revels-Bey welcomed students and staff to accompany them on stage. First up was teacher Kevin Heathwood, who played trumpet during a Dizzy Gillespie song.

Additionally, Hampton Bays Middle School art class students collaborated with teacher Kathy Dayton and Artist-in-Residence John DiNaro to create a mural celebrating the history of modern American jazz. The artwork was hung on Wednesday, March 24, in the music wing of the school.

Other jazz-focused activities throughout the month of March included researching the origins of jazz in America; interactive workshops and performances on the concepts of form, listening, rhythm beat, harmony, improvisation and repertoire; and dance instruction on meringue, flamenco, cha-cha-cha and rumba.

“Origins of American Jazz” programs were made possible with the support of the New York State Council for the Arts, the East End Arts Council, BOCES, the Hampton Bays Middle School PTO and the Hampton Bays Union Free School District.