Pittsfield Jazz Fest
The 8th Annual CityJazz Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is underway, with concerts at venues all around the city. But, as part of the festival's educational outreach, students to the south -- in Great Barrington -- got a hands-on lesson in music history.
Students like the ones here at Monument Valley Middle School like jazz even if they don't know it, according to the members of the Sister City Jazz Ambassadors. In front of a gymnasium [sfx1 fade up] crammed with middle schoolers, they play the Gershwins' "I Got Rhythm."
Then they show how the tune was adapted into a song their audience [sfx2 fade up] may be more familiar with,
From Gershwin to the Flintstones, bandleader Andy Kelly says he wants kids to walk out of the show feeling like jazz is more familiar.
"if you notice the cartoon portion of our show, they've been listening to jazz all their lives and they didn't even know it."
It begins with listening, which makes playing along easier. The highlight for the few hundred students was probably when four of their own sat in with the band.
After Bram Fischer takes a sax solo, [sfx3 fade up] Nico Wohl cuts loose on his guitar.
Kyle Germain is on drums. They're all in seventh grade.
Their classmate Ethan Mazursky started it all off with a bluesy guitar solo. He enjoyed the chance to show off the results of his hours of practicing in front of the whole school.
"It feels awesome just to show what you're learned and what you've accomplished over the years, I guess, yeah."
The jazz festival continues, with student workshops and public concerts, through Saturday.