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Longmeadow middle schools jazz ensembles perform at Adult Center

Date: 7/7/2009

LONGMEADOW Jazz ensemble students from both of Longmeadow's middle schools recently toured the town and performed at the elementary schools and the Longmeadow Adult Center as part of an initiative to educate students and seniors about music and the middle school music program.

Since 2002, students in the Glenbrook and Williams Middle Schools' jazz ensembles have performed at the town's elementary schools as part of a tour to educate students about music and jazz. Making students aware of the possibilities for participating in music in the middle schools is an added benefit of this tour, according to the director of Longmeadow's middle school bands, Daniel Albert.

"One of the missions of music education is to not only educate students about music through performance, but to also educate the public during performances," Albert said. "The students and I take this mission very seriously and are very thankful that the elementary schools have been supportive of this initiative."

Students at Center and Wolf Swamp Road elementary schools were treated to performances of repertoire by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, John Coltrane and other jazz luminaries. In between each song, Albert discussed how each musical instrument worked and described the opportunities that the students have for being involved with music at the middle schools.

"The students and staff had a wonderful time! They are always a great audience and everyone really enjoyed listening to the music and learning about jazz, music and the middle school music program," Albert said.

The Longmeadow Adult Center also hosted the jazz ensembles. Seniors happily clapped along to familiar songs and were an enthusiastic audience. Albert also educated attendees on the different facets of the Longmeadow K-12 music program.

"The audience at the Adult Center was so supportive and receptive," Albert said. "A number of them approached me after our performance and said that 'the future is in good hands.' They are very proud of Longmeadow's youth."

Griffin Crafts, an eighth grader at Glenbrook Middle School, thought that performing at the Adult Center was the highlight of the day.

Hailey Brinnel, another eighth grader at Glenbrook, thought that the jazz ensemble tour was key for the younger students.

"The tour is especially important for elementary kids to get them interested in music in the middle schools," she stated.

According to Albert, the jazz ensemble tour is the highlight of the year for many students. He hopes to continue this tradition for future students.

"Longmeadow has always been incredibly supportive of the arts. We hope to continue performing at the elementary schools and the Adult Center and continue educating the community about music and the excellent music program that we have in the Longmeadow Public Schools."