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Review for Jazzamerica, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

JazzAmerica is a 501(c)(3) non-profit org. whose purpose is to perpetuate Jazz, America's only indigenous artform. JazzAmerica was co-founded by jazz legend Buddy Collette in 1994. Since then, we have provided jazz education to hundreds of youth. Students learn jazz with us under highly-skilled musian/educators...and the lessons for the kids are always Tuition-Free! We introduce the children to the music and personalities of "early jazz" - from Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, through Count Basie and Duke Ellington - invaluable cultural input that our schools cannot afford and that today's media do not acknowledge. Through jazz education, our students learn about diversity, respect, cooperation, and the rewards of practice! We teach in middle schools and high schools in after-school programs, and we provide summer "WorkChops" to kids aged 11 to 20, culminating in performances at high-profile jazz festivals and other community events.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...working with it since its inception in 1994. I've witnessed the growth in confidence of dozens of youngsters who came in reticent and shy, and I've marveled at the achievements of our alumni, many of whom continue to excel in music as professionals.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...simply increase its budget - to enlarge its outreach to more underserved youngsters.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

participating in the growth of young people - and witnessing the blossoming of their confidence, their abilities, their respect for their peers...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all outstanding. Everyone is committed to "the cause," and makes sure all the details are covered - from parents who form a "bagel brigade" to provide snacks to instructors who give of their time to make sure every child's questions are answered.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide this FREE service to youngsters in many cities and towns where the hunger for arts and personal expression go unmet. The combination of children with musical instruments + instructors who care is a winning formula; there is simply no "down" side!

Ways to make it better...

we could have "spread the wealth" across more of the community. Some years we have provided bus service for inner-city kids, but it would be better to have "satellite" music programs IN their community - to bring the music ed to a nearby center...

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

maintaining the funding and increasing it, esp. in thee tough times. Donations are down everywhere. Kids need this positive experience now more than ever. We need revenue to keep and add the best-qualified teachers in order to keep the program afloat

One thing I'd also say is that...

keeping JazzAmerica alive would be a grand "living legacy" for Buddy Collette, who championed racial and gender equality all his life, and who firmly believed in the healing and uplifting power of children of diverse backgrounds playing music together.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Role:  Board Member & volunteered for two years to help launch the program; then became its Program Director.