By Audrey Frigon, CHS Fall Intern
The Earshot Jazz Festival is again underway in Seattle and, included among the great performers like Cécile McLorin Salvant and Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés Jazz Batá, will again be students from across the Central District and Capitol Hill performing with their Seattle Public Schools music programs. But this year’s appearance by the award winning Garfield High and Washington Middle School bands is about more than great jazz.
Along with jazz greats, the festival will be featuring Seattle students in a fundraising effort. Washington Middle School and Garfield High School students are tuning up to perform a benefit concert called Jazz Up Jackson Street. The goal of Thursday night’s performance? To raise awareness and funds for Seattle’s Central District schools’ music programs as they embark on a daunting new initiative — giving every single student an opportunity to learn a musical instrument.
Arlene Fairfield, an organizer of the event, said the music program does not reflect the diversity of Washington and Garfield’s demographics.
“School music programs in the Central District have a long history of excellence that has been recognized both regionally and nationally,” she tells CHS. “However, the student musicians in these programs have historically underrepresented the diversity in our schools.” Continue reading