J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne State

July 22-26,2024


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

In 2012, the Jazz Week initiative proudly adopted 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 redefined the summer jazz camp concept. With 40 high school students being chosen through competitive auditions, 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 J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne collaboration is evidenced by the 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 artists/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 J.C. Heard JazzWeek@Wayne culminates with two public performances, one on the Friday of camp at a top local jazz club, and another to open the 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival as part of Dr. Valade's Brass Band.

Through the generosity of the Heard Family, The Detroit Jazz Festival, and the Wayne State University Department of Music, J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne has multi-year funding to support its current level of programming. The long-term financial and programmatic commitment of all the contributors ensures that J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne will continue to be free for all selected students, will foster diversity of participants, and reward young jazz artists who have achieved a superior level of ability. Additional funding, as it becomes available, will create expansion opportunities that may include increasing the number of students and faculty, broadening the curriculum, and expanding access to more public performances.

Contact Professor Charles Newsome with any questions or concerns: ag8183@wayne.edu