MSUFCU Artist in Residence program swings into communities, schools
By Rich Adams
Leading jazz artists known for blazing new horizons will share their talents with students across Michigan as the Michigan State University Jazz Artist in Residence program kicks off its seventh year at MSU.
First launched in 2013, the residency program brings high-level talent to spend a week mentoring MSU jazz studies students and K-12 students at schools and academies throughout the state.
Coordinated by the MSU College of Music and supported by a $1 million endowment by Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, the program follows the jazz tradition of established musicians sharing their knowledge to aspiring musicians, while often enriching resource-strapped programs in urban and rural communities.
“Jazz is an art form built on teaching and sharing,” said Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker. “Our jazz residency program is devoted to ensuring young musicians thrive by providing opportunities for them to directly learn jazz style and technique from experienced, working artists. We’re also preserving the past and ensuring the future by providing a time-tested means of passing along the language of jazz to the next generation.”
Trumpeter Tanya Darby was the first of four artists coming to MSU for weeklong residencies, two per semester each academic year. During her residency between Oct. 7-13, she mentored the College of Music students and performed for the public. She also visited high schools and art academies statewide accompanied by the MSU Jazz Orchestra I, the college’s premier student jazz ensemble.
Following Darby is drummer Kenny Washington, pianist Bruce Barth and trumpeter Terell Stafford.
Each year, artists in residence travel with MSU’s jazz ensembles to give 16 performances across the state in support of jazz programs at nonprofit organizations and at middle and high schools. All combined, the residences of the 24 artists to date included workshops, concerts, events, and outreach to more than 29,000 students and adults in communities across Michigan.
For more information on the artists and planned concerts, visit msufcu.org/community/community_involvement/michigan_state_university/msufcu_jazz_studies_guest_artist_residency_endowment.