There are some mornings when a few of us Jazz cats crawl out of bed before the sun rises. We get up and on the road to present a morning jazz concert at an elementary school located an hour away from downtown Columbia.
There are some afternoons when a few jazz cats battle “Five O’clock” traffic to play music for residents at an extended care facility.
Bringing jazz music to young people who have never seen a jazz band or have heard of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington or what “improvisation” means is one of our greatest passions. Bringing a music concert to extended care patients is powerful beyond measure – a priceless, precious experience for all involved.
ColaJazz Outreach programs make a difference. We enrich and inspire the Midlands’ communities by sharing jazz anywhere it is needed. Our programs are uplifting, instills hope, fuels healing and creates a lasting, positive experience. ColaJazz brings the important history and values of jazz to life, supports local musicians, and offers programs to all ages of any background.
Recently, ColaJazz Jazz Outreach Coordinator Eboni Ramm and a group comprised of trumpet, keyboard, bass and drums visited Denmark-Olar Elementary School, a Title-One school in Denmark, SC. We presented five Jazz appreciation concerts for kindergarten to fifth graders. What did the students experience?
- Creative expression and improvisation (thinking outside the box, being courageous)
- Sounds and role of instruments in a jazz band (working well with others, social skills)
- Soloing and “Trading 4’s” (conflict & resolution, effective communication)
- Basic jazz history (understanding of the world around them)
These are vital life-skills these kids are learning. Experiencing how to be curious about the different instead of scared by it or how to process strong emotions in a healthy way or how to listen as well as you speak are some of what the ColaJazz Outreach programs offer.
ColaJazz is now presenting weekly concerts on Friday afternoons at Lexington Medical Center Extended Care. These residents have had a very tough time for years due to Covid restrictions. Many of these folks have memory issues and so many other ailments. When we come to play for them, it is a precious moment to feel alive, to feel connected, to feel wanted and a part of something. Our concerts bring hope and healing, a necessary respite from the day to day grind of medical issues.