Prominent New York church connects with ‘jazz kids’

Young musicians participate in a program organized by Jazz House Kids, an arts education and performance organization in Montclair, N.J. Photo/Richard Conde

By Trinity Church Wall Street.

Historic Trinity Church Wall Street has announced a new collaboration, beginning this fall, with Jazz House Kids to provide free, professional jazz education for children and a series of free public jazz concerts at its historic downtown churches.

Jazz House Kids, now in its 20th year, is an arts education and performance organization in Montclair, N.J. It was founded by jazz vocalist Melissa Walker, who serves as president. Eight-time Grammy winner Christian McBride serves as artistic director.

The JAZZHOUSE@Trinity collaboration reflects Trinity’s commitment to offering a wide range of musical styles and access to award-winning musicians in its public spaces, including jazz, a uniquely American art form and an important, uniting voice for our collective story and experience.

Earlier this summer, JAZZHOUSE @ Trinity initiated programming at Trinity Youth Afterschool at Trinity Commons — Trinity’s public space in lower Manhattan — through the creation of the Trinity Youth Summer Jazz Ensemble. Two jazz ensembles studied under the direction of world-class artists, with a culminating performance at St. Paul’s Chapel.

Trinity Church stands at the head of Wall Street in New York. Photo/Colin Winterbottom

The new JAZZHOUSE @ Trinity offering at Trinity Youth Afterschool will expand access to free musical training and jazz education in small and large group ensembles; improvisation; novice programs for beginners, which will include use of a new instrument; jazz vocals and African drumming.

Nationally-renowned jazz performers will serve as teaching artists, offering students in grades 6-12 a wide array of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership, social emotional learning, and life skills, and strengthens academic performance. The program will be expanded to K-5 in 2023.

The program for the 2022-23 school year starts September 19 and interested students in grades 6-12 can enroll through Trinity Youth.

Trinity Youth Afterschool is a 5-day-per-week program that is free and open to all New York City youth in grades 6-12. Youth members gain access to a wide range of quality programming in addition to lunch upon arrival, a full-size gym, youth lounge, study space, and art and dance studios.

As part of the collaborative summer offering, daytime jazz concerts also debuted at Trinity. Guests included jazz greats like Bruce Williams, and Abel Mireles and LatiNext; and emerging talent Zoe Obadia and Claudia Nketia, performing in Trinity’s historic St. Paul’s Chapel.

The church’s afternoon Concerts at One series will return this fall and will feature a new Jazz at One series on Tuesdays for seven weeks starting October 11, presented in collaboration with JAZZHOUSE@Trinity.

Trinity will also present a new Jazz Icons concert series at Trinity Church on Sundays, co-curated by McBride and Walker. Concerts are planned for October 9 and December 4 with pianist Monty Alexander.

“Trinity is excited to bring a new stream of musical talent into our historic sanctuaries and offer this gift of free and dynamic music concerts to our neighbors,” said the Rev. Michael Bird, vicar of Trinity Wall Street. “We are grateful to our partners at Jazz House Kids for hosting award-winning educational programming for our young people and opening doors to some of the greatest musicians of our time.”

“Jazz House Kids is excited to open a New York campus in collaboration with Trinity Church,” said Walker. “We will further our mission as an instrument for change — providing access, learning, career development, and community building through jazz. We are honored to commence this collaboration with renowned Trinity Church Wall Street and recognize their significant investment in jazz — this uniquely American art form born of the African-American experience and now embraced around the world.”

Trinity Church Wall Street is a growing and inclusive Episcopal parish of more than 1,200 members. For more than three centuries, Trinity has been a part of the fabric of New York City-weaving together a vibrant and diverse parish of people of all backgrounds.

Trinity champions justice and equity through public advocacy, neighborhood outreach, and financial resources. More than 20 worship services are offered every week online and at its sanctuaries, Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel.

Jazz House Kids is dedicated to transforming lives using the power and legacy of jazz through world-class education and performances that create avenues of access, learning, career development and community building. For more information, visit www.trinitywallstreet.org. The organization and students have received more than 125 awards and recognition for excellence in jazz and jazz education. The organization’s far-reaching cultural signature program is the award-winning Montclair Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the New York area. For more information, visit www.jazzhousekids.org.

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