Youth Performances at UMS
Photos from the 11/12 Youth Performance Season [Click to Enlarge] – Questions at AnDa Union (Left) & Dancing at Rebirth Brass Band (Right).
As the school year begins to wind down, I look back at another amazing season at UMS. As the elementary vocal music teacher at Mitchell School in Ann Arbor, I have been fortunate enough to bring my students to UMS concerts for more than 10 years.
When I pause to reflect on the professional, first-class groups that my young students have seen, it is absolutely astonishing. I’m thinking now about World Music groups, and the effects these concerts have had on our students.
When Amalia Hernandez Ballet Folklorico de Mexico appeared in 2006, it triggered a celebration of Hispanic culture in our school. The whole school attended the concert (first time ever!) and the event resonated throughout the school year as we studied and played Latin music. I applied for and received a grant to buy authentic Latin percussion instruments for my classroom. These are enjoyed by every grade level to this day, and have become increasingly important as our school’s Hispanic population continues to grow. I also remember our students being overwhelmed and moved by the performance we attended of The Children of Uganda. The story of these children and their astonishing talents resonated deeply with Mitchell Students.
I’m wondering who else out there has something to say about their experiences with UMS world music youth concerts.
- Did you find that your students were especially moved by the performances?
- Were you able to see carry over effects into the school year and beyond?
- Do your students remember the performances years later, recalling such sights and sounds as new instruments they may have seen in the shows?
Rosalie Koenig, Mitchell Elementary School
Home Is In Your Heart – A Night in Treme
Editor’s Note: UMS will present “A Night in Treme:The Musical Majesty of New Orleans,” a night of New Orleans jazz featuring the Rebirth Brass Band, this Friday, November 11 at Hill Auditorium. The following note is from Leo Sacks, who is directing a feature documentary about the New Orleans gospel sensation Raymond Myles. After Katrina, he created The New Orleans Social Club and produced the group’s acclaimed Sing Me Back Home. He recently produced Take A Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her first pop recording.
The heavens opened and the storm waters surged and the bowl began to fill, and our favorite street paraders, and piano ticklers, and rhythm-and-blues singers, and funkateers, and trumpeteers were scattered to the winds.
They wondered whether they would ever go home or would want to. For some it was a test of faith. Do you rebuild? Can you afford to? Can you afford not to? Will the future be friendly? Others saw it as an opportunity to reaffirm their trust in the infinite wisdom of the universe.
They are more than musicians. They are healers, and from the Diaspora of musical genius they have come together to heal themselves.
Some of them will be here this Friday.
Their stories are told on Treme, the HBO drama that follows a group of locals as they pick up the pieces in the months after the levees failed in 2005. Treme is about people who found the grace to return to their silent streets and look beyond the desolation, and believed that their lives were turned upside down for some divine reason.
This Friday, the gathered ones have come to play, for family and friends, for the displaced and the forgotten, for their elders and ancestors in the Spirit World.
“If you don’t return to the roots of a tree, it won’t be there anymore,” Donald Harrison, Jr., the saxophonist and cultural anthropologist who is also this Friday’s music director, says. “From these roots, the fruit grows all over the world.”
This Friday, we can smell the fragrance of sweet jasmine and gardenias instead of the mold and mud. This Friday, we celebrate how these musical healers have worked through their rage and fear and frustration and heartbreak and heartache—their defiance and devotion and the vulnerability.
Slowly, these musicians have rebuilt the Old Neighborhood, even if it isn’t there anymore, exactly. Today in Treme, the music prevails.
11/12 Jazz Series
With four different events, the UMS Jazz Series celebrates jazz’s diversity, highlighting the best in contemporary jazz while honoring jazz’s legacy. Concerts include NEA Jazz Master and pianist Ahmad Jamal with James Cammack, Herlin Riley, and Manolo Badrena; A Night in Treme: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans featuring the Rebirth Brass Band; the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis; and the Charles Lloyd Quartet, with 2010 MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran, Reuben Rogers, and Eric Harland.
Subscription packages go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 9, and will be available through Friday, September 17. Current subscribers will receive renewal packets in early May and may renew their series upon receipt of the packet. Tickets to individual events will go on sale to the general public on Monday, August 22 (via www.ums.org) and Wednesday, August 24 (in person and by phone). Not sure if you’re on our mailing list? Click here to update your mailing address to be sure you’ll receive a brochure.
An Evening with Ahmad Jamal
Ahmad Jamal, piano
James Cammack, bass
Herlin Riley, drums
Manolo Badrena, percussion
Saturday, September 17, 8 pm
“Ahmad Jamal is not just a living legend of jazz; he is one of the most inspired and inspiring artists in music today.” (AllAboutJazz.com) A key influence on Miles Davis and countless others, NEA Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal incorporates a unique sense of space in his music, and his musical concepts are exciting without being loud in volume. Born in Pittsburgh 80 years ago, Jamal is playing better than ever, with lifetime achievement awards feeling premature given his ongoing desire to push the genre forward.
A Night in Treme: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans
Rebirth Brass Band with special guests from New Orleans
Friday, November 11, 8 pm
The Treme (pronounced truh-MAY) neighborhood of New Orleans has been a source of African-American music and culture for as long as cooks in the Crescent City have been serving red beans and rice on Monday nights. Birthplace of the great New Orleans brass band tradition and one of the first black neighborhoods in America, Treme is the heartbeat of New Orleans and the home to Congo Square. In conjunction with the airing of the second season of the HBO series, which follows a variety of New Orleanians as they try to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, this concert features the legendary Rebirth Brass Band, known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans tradition of second line with funk, jazz, soul, and hip-hop influences.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis, artistic director and trumpet
Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 pm
The February 2010 snowstorm was about the only thing that could keep Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra away from Ann Arbor! Despite one of the most aggressive touring schedules in the business, JLCO makes each concert fresh, drawing in audiences who are continually energized and amazed by the group’s depth of outrageous talent.
Charles Lloyd Quartet
Charles Lloyd, tenor saxophone and flute
Jason Moran, piano
Reuben Rogers, bass
Eric Harland, drums
Saturday, April 14, 8 pm
Forty years ago, saxophonist Charles Lloyd was a pop star; his 1966 album, Forest Flower, sold a million copies. Four years ago, at 69, when most individuals are thinking of ways to slow down and kick back, Charles Lloyd shifted to a higher gear and formed a new quartet. Lloyd has always led exceptional bands, and this is perhaps the best. With 2010 MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran on piano, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums, the Quartet’s concerts are events of pristine beauty and elegance, full of intensely felt emotion and passion that touches deep inside the heart.