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JAZZ ROOM Holiday Edition

Students Perform with New Orleans Jazz Icons

Charlotte, NC – December 7, 2018 – On Friday, December 7, Jazz Arts Initiative presented their 4th annual holiday show at the McGlohon Theater. Back by popular demand, New Orleans’ legendary Preservation Hall Jazz All Stars performed before a sold-out crowd. JAI Youth Ensemble students were also given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the Jazz All Stars on stage.

JAI students also met the band members in a special teaching clinic on Thursday. The students were treated to a private concert in a small environment and given the chance to learn technique and practice one-on-one band members. “It was cool to hear these amazing musicians talk about focusing on the fundamentals, and to realize that even they were students just like me once,” said one student.

At the Preservation Hall event, two of JAI’s student ensembles actually got to perform. The crowd enjoyed hearing from one group at the preconcert auction, demonstrating live the value of the auction donations. At intermission, the All-Stars student group took the stage and wowed the crowd. Attendee and JAI volunteer Carlos Rolland remarked, “I cannot believe these kids are performing at that level. We are truly seeing the future of jazz right in front of us.”

Student performers, budding musicians from all over Charlotte, included: DJ Bellinger on drums (Ridge Road Middle), Lovell Bradford, Jr on bass (North Meck Senior), Veronica Leahy on Alto Saxophone (Charlotte Latin Senior), Holland Majors on keyboard (Sophomore, homeschooled), Taylor Scott vocalist (Valley Spring Middle), Aron Stornaiuolo on guitar (South Meck Junior), and Cecilia Whalen (JAI alumnus, currently at UNC Charlotte).

It is the mission of Jazz Arts Initiative to educate rising jazz musicians and bring top jazz performers to the Charlotte area. This event encapsulates both of these worthy goals in grand style. “We love ensuring Charlotte has access to the highest quality performances, but our education piece is just as important,” said, Lonnie Davis, President, and CEO of JAI. “Tonight was a very special night for our students – one they will remember of the rest of their lives.”

JAI educational resources are accessible to everyone and the JAI holiday show also serves as a fundraiser to support scholarships awarded to students based on merit and financial need. Due to the support of attendees, the program received donations exceeding expectations, raising nearly $10,000 on Friday night.

Want to know more? Visit for information on upcoming student Spring workshops and summer camps, as well as upcoming shows at The JAZZ ROOM.

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