Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Young jazz comes to Englewood

Something good in the hood
is coming to Englewood
With the over whelming rash of violence that has swept through Chicago lately, especially with this latest act of senseless and hennas crime waged against the immediate family of Chicago native; singer, Jenifer Hudson, it seems like the south side community of Englewood has led the way in becoming the proverbial black eye of the inner city. Crime has all but erased the proud history of Englewood once being the second busiest business district next to downtown; Home to Sears, Goldblatt's and Wieboldt's department stores. These days residents of Englewood have had more than their fair share of drama, crime and heart ache. Englewood continues to make the news. In the past decade more than 700 people have been murdered there. The magnificent brick houses built after the Great Chicago Fire, built to last for ever, are falling down. There are 2473 vacant buildings and 215 empty lots in Englewood. Forty-three percent of Englewood's population lives below the poverty line. Gangs fight for territory and drugs while Englewood's residents hide behind closed doors and worry and wait. (facts contributed by A Short History of Englewood slis.cua.edu/ihy/spring04/Englewood/home.htm )
Well in the echoes of our President elect's theme of change, it seems like one organization has come along just in time for this new year of hope; promising to help create a new conversation and attitude amongst Englewood residents.
"Urban Aspirations" a non profit community arts organization, will be sharing a bit of its positive community spirit with this all too battered and bruised neighborhood. Starting January 21st "Urban Aspirations" will present "Young Natives" Student Jam Sessions, for Chicago based jazz music students from fifth grade through to College seniors, at Washburn Culinary beautiful new supper club , "Sikia" restaurant, located on the campus of the new Kennedy King College at 740 West 63rd Street, near Halsted. "Young Natives" Student Jam Sessions at Sikia Restaurant promises to be a welcomed activity for parents, students, educators and Englewood residents alike. Young music students will get the opportunity to perform freely with their peers and mentors while being supported by the residents of Englewood and serving as an example to other young people that might not have considered a formal music experience. Commencing January 21st '09 and concluding May 20th '09 on the third Wednesday of each the month.

Due to dwindling music programs in the public school system, children were forced to improvise music performance according their own interpretation. One interpretation has been manifested in the art form known as rap. While rap has become a viable and recognized art form, it remains mostly artificial in that it usually employs prerecorded music by other formally trained and noted artists, leaving little room for theoretical scholarship and performance discipline. This has left our children not only lacking in the benefit and beauty of music theory and exploration, but also absent of the desire to pursue any music knowledge beyond their limited exposure.It is Urban Aspirations "Young Natives Live Jam Session for Students program objectives to:
1. Expose youth to Jazz.2. Develop and enhance youth’s ability to perform jazz standards and the art of Jazz improvisation. 3. Provide students with a venue to participate in live jam sessions.
January 21st will be hosted by none other than Chicago's own noted trumpeter, Mr. Corey Wilkes accompanied by the Gallery 37 jazz band.Urban Aspirations is a community based not-for-profit 501(c) (3) performing arts organization founded in 2001 by Marcus Burks. The mission of Urban Aspirations is to assist in facilitating the aspiration of Chicago’s unknown and young urban performing artists; while at the same time exposing youth to jazz and enhancing their musical skills by using live jam session to develop and enhance youth’s ability to perform jazz standards. If you would like to help support Urban Aspiration and it's "Young Natives" program you can make a contribution by donating on line at http://www.urbanaspirations.org/, or send Check or money order to:Urban Aspirations28 East Jackson # 10-B843Chicago, Il 60604 Ph# 312-458-9316
Gallery 37 Jazz class/combo is partnered with the prestigous Monk Institute of Jazz. For more Info regarding Gallery 37 follow the link: http://37advanced.org/perform.html Also, click on the upcoming link to view our most recent blog From The Mouths Of Babes, posted May 31st '09.