Jazz Musicians, Age 13-17, Sought For Camp
An intense, five-day study of jazz music awaits everyone 13 to 17 years old with either one-to-two years’ experience on an instrument, or who hopes to someday sing the blues.
The Twin Cities Youth Jazz Camp is the brainchild of longtime jazz musician Bernie Edstrom, New Hope, and was born of his desire to expose young people to jazz.
With the help of sponsorships and donations, the camp gives every youth a chance to attend – especially those in undeserved populations.
Nobody will be turned away for a lack of ability to pay the suggested $150 donation, Edstrom said. Plenty of full or partial scholarships are available, and lunch will be served every day at no extra charge.
Set for June 9 to 13 at FAIR School in Crystal, the Twin Cities Youth Jazz Camp features an impressive array of jazz musicians – experts known to those who know local jazz – to teach the classes.
They include Debbie Duncan, teaching vocals; Dave Hagadorm, vibes and drum; Dean McGraw, guitar; Irv Williams, saxophone; Eric Gravatt, drums; Ron Evenuik, bass; Michael Lewis, saxophone; Greg Lewis, trumpet and trombone; Greg Keel, saxophone and flute; Phil Holm, trumpet and trombone; and Alicia Wiley, piano.
Edstrom will join the instructors and teach students on the trumpet.
“It’s a comprehensive camp,” Edstrom said. “To teach kids about jazz, rhythym, playing in small groups, how to take rhythms and notes from music, ear training …”
Students will learn how to play music heard on the radio and recordings, a technique that jazz masters have used for decades.
“That’s the way you want to learn jazz anyway,” Edstrom said.
Each day, students will practice and study ear-training, jazz rhythm concepts and working in ensembles; and the socio-political history of jazz will be an integral part of the camp throughout the week.
A Boston native, Edstrom has played with various groups around the Twin Cities for 25 years. On an annual trip home he conducts a youth jazz camp in Massachussetts every summer, he said.
One of the most inspiring outcomes of the camps, he said, is greater than simply teaching students to learn to play and love jazz music. It happens when kids from different backgrounds discover how alike one another they really are.
Edstrom described the transformation of students throughout the week, at first strangers, then youths who have something in common, and finally emerging with fast friends.
“They are communicating together through music,” Edstrom said. “They start to realize that everybody is pretty much the same.
“There’s no color in music,” he added. “With music, a fear of strangers or different races dissipates.”
The jazz camp is enhanced by the diversity of the teaching staff, which includes men and women, white and black, young and old, Edstrom said.
“Even though it’s only a week, it sends a message,” he said. “Equality.”
Anyone interested in the Twin Cities Youth Jazz Camp is asked to call Bernie Edstrom at 763-542-8880. The deadline for application is May 15.
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