Wayne State University

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J.C. Heard Jazz Week at Wayne

8th annual Jazz Week • July 21-25, 2014

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Beginning in 2007, the Wayne State University Department of Music embarked on a long-term partnership with the Detroit Jazz Festival. One result of this collaboration, JazzWeek@Wayne, is a one-week workshop that provides high school students with an intensive and rewarding jazz education.

In 2012, the Jazz Week initiative proudly adopts its new name: J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne, in honor of the generous support from the J.C. Heard family. J.C. Heard’s legacy as jazz drummer extraordinaire has been woven into the program’s curriculum and presentation. This initiative has evolved and redefines the summer jazz camp concept. With 40 high school students being chosen through competitive audition, and no students burdened with a tuition fee, the program brings together a highly diverse collection of talented youth from urban, rural, and suburban settings. The program has enjoyed 100% attendance every year, significant numbers of returning students, and a reputation for excellence throughout the Southeast Michigan area. The positive impact of the JazzWeek@Wayne collaboration is evidenced by high success rate and scholarship offers to participants who chose to continue their jazz education at the university level.

J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne combines the artistic and educational forces of three jazz entities, the Wayne State University Department of Music, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the J.C. Heard Legacy. The program nurtures students with a time-tested curriculum that blends formal academic discipline with the historic models of the Street-School. Guided by WSU's Jazz faculty, guest artists from the Detroit community and national artist/educators sponsored by the Detroit Jazz Festival, students study jazz improvisation, theory and ensemble playing. They work in master class settings, jam sessions and small and large ensemble rehearsals. The 5-year commitment of all three parties assures that the J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne will continue to be a free experience for those young artists in the region who secure their place through competitive audition. This design assures the diversity of participants and rewards young jazz artists that have achieved a superior level of ability.

J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne culminates with two public performances. The first, at Campus Martius Park, includes all participants and is scheduled for Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:00-2:00 p.m. The second performance will feature exceptional Jazz Week students who are selected for a position in the J.C. Heard All-Star Youth Ensemble, which will perform at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival. In 2012 and 2013 the All-Star's performed at the Detroit Divas Sing, Sing, Sing event and on a main stage at the Detroit Jazz Festival. The festival presentation is a featured performance with guest artists, thus extending the interactive experience and providing an opportunity for national exposure.

Through the generosity of the Heard Family, the JazzWeek@Wayne has funding through 2016 to support its current level of programming. The long-term financial and programmatic commitment of all entities involved ensures that the J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne will continue to be a free experience for young musicians. This design assures diversity of participants and rewards young jazz artists that have achieved a superior level of ability. Additional funds will create expansion opportunities to include affecting more students, increasing faculty, a broader curriculum and access to more public performances.

Audition dates for 2014 Jazz Week@Wayne:

  • Saturday, April 12
  • Saturday, April 26
  • Saturday, May 10
  • Saturday, May 24

Beginning at 10:00 a.m. in room 1108 Old Main, 4841 Cass Ave. (at Warren)

Complete an audition registration form.

Contact Prof. Russ Miller with any questions or concerns: russmiller@wayne.edu

View a short video of Christian McBride's Jazz Week@Wayne class here.  (This is a 11 MB video courtesy of Joseph Productions Inc, DTVN LLC)

View photos from Jazz Week 2009

View photos from Jazz Week 2008

View photos from the 2007 Campus Martius performance.