Visitors jazz up education

Jason Marsalis is one of the premier jazz drummers and vibraphonists today. He is also the youngest brother of the famous Marsalis family of New Orleans jazz royalty that includes Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

Jason Marsalis is one of the premier jazz drummers and vibraphonists today. He is also the youngest brother of the famous Marsalis family of New Orleans jazz royalty that includes Wynton and Branford Marsalis.

Earlier this month, he and a few friends from the jazz world made a stop to work with White River School District music students.

Some referred to the visit as an outrageous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.

“We are extremely fortunate to have him as a guest,” said Laura Telman, music teacher at Foothills and Wilkeson elementary schools who arranged the visit. “It is a very exciting opportunity and is exposing the kids to talent unlike anything they have ever heard. This is like the music equivalent of Tom Brady or Bruce Willis coming to the school.”

The jazz quintet started the morning Sept. 12 with a clinic for middle and high school jazz and concert bands.

“As a saxophone player I would be lying if I didn’t mention the fact that I was a bit skeptical that I would be able to learn much from a band that didn’t even have a saxophone player present,” junior Jake Johnson said. “I found that the essence of jazz and where Jason’s music came from was still able to move me and provide to me a good foundation.”

“My goal was to inspire my students with a high level performance, but what I got was much more than that,” WRHS music director Tim Fleming said. “The musicians were able to relate the true nature of jazz and how it transferred into so many aspects of their lives. My students walked away with a much wider perspective than when they came in.”

Telman said elementary students are still buzzing about the visit.

It was an opportunity that happened her way. She jumped at the opportunity to bring the group in when her friend, Ed Littlefield, recorded with the group and said they would be touring in the area. She asked if they would stop by Buckley and the answer was yes.

As a teacher Telman said she knows not every kid will become a professional musician, but her mission is to give them an appreciation of music.

At the elementary level, the musicians performed a concert and sprinkled it with educational information.

Telman said students at Foothills Elementary spent the week prior to the visit researching jazz and the performers in their classrooms. She said she hopes the exercise and the visit makes jazz less abstract and elitist for students.

“I create consumers and appreciators of music,” she said. “If everyone was a musician there’d be no one to listen.”

More in News

Cross-country cyclists make first stop in Enumclaw

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members from all around the country stopped at Ashley House on their first stop on the Journey of Hope tour.

Wyatt Hodder same in third in one of this year’s tree climbing competitions. Photo by Ashley Britschgi
Junior Show attracts 142 competitors, here are the winners

Make sure you don’t miss the big event next weekend.

After Seattle’s controversial employee head tax was repealed, King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to bond against existing tax revenues to generate $100 million for affordable housing. Photo by Joe Mabel/Wikipedia Commons
County executive proposes $100 million affordable housing bond

The money was already coming, but Constantine wants to speed up the process.

Bonney Lake High School graduation 2018 | Slideshow

Check out the Panthers in their cap and gowns getting ready for life’s next challenges.

Programs come together for benefit of White River graduates

Check out which Hornets were honored during the 2018 graduation.

Enumclaw Health and Rehab offers free nursing training

The next round of classes starts Monday, June 26, and runs through July 24.

Public health and medical community pledge to decrease gun violence | Public Health Insider

In 2016, 663 adults and 20 children died from a firearm injury in Washington state, including 144 adults and 7 children from King County.

Enumclaw couple reach marriage milestone of 75 years

Fred and Jean Gramann have been married since 1943

Jeter returns to Bonney Lake as police chief

The city has grown since he left 13 years ago, but Bryan Jeter says he’s ready for the challenge.

Most Read