Contact: Leonardo Bloin


Jazz House Kids Students Travel to Peru April 11-20
Second Year for Music Cultural Exchange Trip Sponsored by U.S. Embassy in Peru and ICPNA

[Montclair, NJ - April 7, 2016] Seven talented New Jersey high school musicians will once again act as unofficial ambassadors of jazz when students of the award-winning  Jazz House Big  Band head to Peru on April 11 for a nine-day trip of performances, masterclasses, jam sessions and sightseeing.  Sponsored and supported by the United States Embassy in Peru and the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA), this is the second annual Peruvian cultural exchange for Jazz House Kids, a New Jersey-based nonprofit that has gained a reputation as one of United States' preeminent arts education and performance organizations .  Accompanying the students will be Jazz House Kids president and founder, vocalist  Melissa Walker , along with trumpeter and Jazz House Summer Workshop director
Ted Chubb , and pianist and teaching artist  Oscar Perez .  Walker and Chubb will perform with the students, and Perez will direct the ensemble. 
United States Embassy in Peru  and ICPNA invited Jazz House Kids back for an encore after a successful cultural exchange in June 2015. According to Ted Chubb , the Embassy was impressed how Jazz House Kids models youth musicianship and music education at its highest level.  "Last year, our friends at the Embassy appreciated how we represented jazz, a music art form with deep roots in North American history." he said. "While many schools in Peru have strong music education programs, jazz is not studied as extensively as in the United States. We were able to introduce jazz in a culturally relevant way, including Spanish translation at every performance and masterclass."
The Embassy will host the group on April 17th at a special "Earth Month" concert in Manchay, with opening remarks from U.S. Ambassador to Peru Brian A. Nichols. The Manchay performance will include joint performances with Peruvian students. 

Jazz House Kids students will open the 16th annual weeklong Jazz in Lima festival, which features musicians from around the world.  Other tour highlights will include jazz masterclasses at the National Conservatory, and concerts at Peruvian clubs, schools and cultural centers.  The group also will travel to Iquitos, the largest metropolis the Peruvian Amazon, and the sixth most populous city of Peru.  There, they will conduct a masterclass for local students and perform a free, evening community concert. 

While last year's trip included jams, masterclasses, concerts and sightseeing tours in Cuzco, Lima, and Machu Picchu, this year, the group will be performing at public schools in the Amazon region for children who perhaps have not heard live jazz before.  
The Peruvian excursions enable Jazz House Kids and the young musicians who have studied there to participate in two time-honored traditions in jazz: spreading an original musical art form from the United States around the world, and learning about the sounds and rhythms of other cultures to incorporate into their music. (Latin musical traditions have made especially rich contributions to jazz.)  
2015 Peru Crew

Melissa Walker 2015
"Our mission strives to foster global citizens.  Jazz has long been a potent cultural connector that unites young people, fans, families and musicians," said Walker.  "Jazz has no language barriers, and, we are thrilled to be able to take part in this cultural exchange program with our emerging artists."  
The students traveling to Peru are all part of Jazz House Kids' top ensemble, the Jazz House Big Band. Recognized as one of the premier youth jazz bands in the U.S., the Jazz House Big Band students hail from 17 communities in New Jersey and are selected through competitive auditions. After returning from Peru, the full big band will join an elite pool of 15 top ensembles from across the country to compete as finalists in Jazz at Lincoln Center's annual Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival in May. 
Melissa Walker 's husband is five-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, the newly named Artistic Director of the Newport Jazz Festival, who serves as artistic chair of Jazz House Kids.  Together, through Jazz House Kids, they have helped build and grow a nurturing, nationally-recognized music education and performance powerhouse. McBride relishes his role of mentor, fostering the next generation of jazz musicians.   E ach year, Jazz House Kids directly serves more than 1,000 students at its Jazz House facility in Montclair, in the schools, and across the region.  The organization offers more than 20 instrumental and vocal jazz classes at the Jazz House, and provides access to music education in underserved school districts, with programs in six school districts.  Jazz House Kids also places instruments in the hands of young people who want to play but can't afford instruments. Each year, Jazz House Kids brings jazz into the community through more than 75 student performances. The annual "no tickets required"  Montclair Jazz Festival , one of the largest festivals in New Jersey attracting more than 8,000 people each August, is produced by Jazz House Kids.  Each year, Jazz House Kids reaches 25,000 people through its events, performances and programming.  

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About Jazz House Kids   
Jazz House Kids helps students gain an "artistic edge" through music, mentoring, education and apprenticeship. By offering pre-professional, year-round musical training along with community engagement and education programs for young people from all backgrounds, we use jazz as an effective teaching tool to enhance academic achievement, dedication and teamwork, and cultivate tomorrow's global citizens. JazzTimes calls Jazz House Kids, "one of the most successful and respected jazz education programs in the country."  Since 2002, more than 45,000 students have participated in Jazz House Kids music education programs in the schools, at the Jazz House and in the community.