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When Jazz Goes to School wraps up its sixteenth year in Eagle County with three special jazz performances at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on May 5 & 6 featuring the Jazz Goes to School Sextet, members of the public are invited to attend.   “This is such a rich and exciting performance that we want to open it up to the whole community,” said Robin Litt, executive director of the Vail Jazz Foundation.  Tickets are available to the public for the final performance at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 6th. for $10 per person.  Proceeds will support the Vilar Center Community Performance Fund.  Tickets can be purchased here or by calling 970-845-TIXS (8497).

The fourth and final session of the Jazz Goes to School educational program, entitled “A Century of Jazz”, features a selection of tunes that have shaped the history of jazz in America.  Local jazz musician and professional jazz educator, Tony Gulizia (keyboard and vocals), directs the Jazz Goes to School program. “The concert includes legendary jazz tunes by Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Grover Washington, Jr., and others”, said Gulizia.  “We also perform a medley of blues compositions authored by the fifth graders as part of the concert – their lyrics are priceless!” said Gulizia.

Tony Gulizia’s brother Joey, also a professional jazz musician and educator (drummer), joins Tony on stage, as does Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (saxophone),  Mike Gurciullo (trumpet) and Michael Pujado (congas and percussion).  The sextet presents a dynamic, foot stompin’ show that pulls together all the concepts taught in the first three classroom sessions, as demonstrated in some of Jazz’s finest works.

Jazz Goes to School is presented by The Vail Jazz Foundation, a 501c3 charitable foundation dedicated to the perpetuation of jazz through performances and education, with a focus on young musicians and young audiences.  The program educates over 1,100 fourth and fifth graders annually in the Eagle County School District RE-50J, plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, The Vail Academy, Stone Creek Charter School, St. Clare of Assisi, and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.  Jazz Goes to School has exposed over 16,000 school students to jazz music since inception

Building on the success of Jazz Goes to School, Vail Jazz will offer an even greater hands-on musical experience, called “Jammin’ Jazz Kids” every Sunday and Monday in July.  In conjunction with Jazz @ The Market on the Solaris green, youngsters ages 8 to 12 will be able to explore the history of Jazz along with a fun learning experience with children playing a variety of percussion instruments – maracas, bongos, congas, tambourines and Orff instruments.  Participating children will also listen to and join with jazz musicians in playing music and learning the art of improvisation. Sunday programs will be 45 minutes in length and offered at no charge; Monday sessions will provide an extended class of 90 minutes for $20 per participant. Eagle County students receive a discount to Monday programs, which are offered in conjunction with the Vail Recreation District.

Jazz Goes to School is sponsored in part by Alpine Bank, Vilar PAC Community Use Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), all fifteen elementary schools’ PTOs, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, United Way Eagle River Valley, Vail Resorts Echo, Antlers at Vail, Local Joe’s Pizza, East West Resorts, Lifthouse Lodge and numerous private donors.

Tickets to the Jazz Goes to School Sextet on May 6 can be purchased here or by calling 970-845-TIXS (8497).

Photo: Andy Hall, Roger Neumann and Mike Gurciullo entertain students at the 2013 Jazz Goes to School concert. – photo by Robin Litt