Black History Month Education Program
February is Black History Month, and for the sixth time in 2017 the HJF education program includes this national holiday. The school workshop and concert series uses music to present key figures and events from the Civil Rights Movement, and relate them to today’s students’ lives.
Drawing on its ties to the Bay Area jazz community, the organization has again engaged bassist-composer Marcus Shelby to conduct Civil Rights-themed workshops at eight Healdsburg and Geyserville schools. Shelby blends music and other media to present in-depth but accessible portraits of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and other relevant themes, empowering students to fulfill their role in society’s ongoing struggle for full equality.
For 2017, “Blues in America” is a one-hour musical workshop that engages and teaches students the history of the Blues and its relationship to art, culture, and humanity in the United States of America. The Blues is an authentic and original art form born in America. The power of the Blues lies in its ability for self-expression, group expression, improvisation, messaging, healing, and understanding the world around us. Students will learn about the Blues through recordings, songs, and interactive group exercises.
The goal of the workshop “Blues in America” is for students to learn how the Blues became the foundation of much American music including gospel, country, rock, R&B, hip hop, and jazz.
Healdsburg Youth Choir and Band
Music Director: Marcus Shelby
Choir Director: Tiffany Austin
Theme for 2017: “Lady Sings the Blues: Tribute to Billie Holiday”
The Healdsburg Jazz Festival Youth Choir and Band will present a very special Black History concert titled “Lady Sings the Blues: Tribute to Billie Holiday”, to feature a selection of blues songs by American vocalists including Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Abby Lincoln. The choir will perform a special vocal suite dedicated to the great vocalist Billie Holiday. The Youth Band will perform instrumental blues songs from composers Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonius Monk.
There will be 4 rehearsals (every Friday in February) and 2 performances (same day, March 3). Shelby will manage the rehearsals, and Tiffany Austin will direct the choir for rehearsals and the performance, working closely with Shelby in developing the program for the final performance.
All participating schools attend a concert with music based on the theme of the current year, during the first week of March at the Raven Performing Arts Theater with Marcus Shelby Quartet and a special guest vocalist. The student choir is featured on stage as Shelby and his ensemble perform his jazz oratorio. Over 800 students participate in this program and for that reason, there are two concerts on this day.
The workshops and concerts are free of charge for students at the participating schools.