[Dixielandjazz] Playing for Kids - Redux

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 30 23:37:49 PDT 2004

Here is a local Newspaper article about our session a month ago at the
Chadd's Ford Elementary School. Published here in the hope that some of
the band leaders on the DJML will go out and do likewise. As I posted
before, we get an extraordinary reception at this age level. This is how
you build a local audience, at the schools, in your area.

No, I'm not trying to get work from list mates. The typical DJMler is
not our target audience. Our audience is young, spends money to see/hear
us and regards Jazz as a new experience. In short, we target regular
folks, the great unwashed. And guess what? They love the music.

We can't afford to go to OKOM festivals because the local work is much
more lucrative. And much more rewarding for our mental health. Our
audience is very large, young, spends money to see/hear us, is open to
new experiences, and having no preconceived notions, doesn't tell us how
to play.

They love to hear us quote Garry Giddins "Jazz is the ultimate in rugged
individualism. It's going out there on that stage and saying: It doesn't
matter how anybody else did it. This is the way I'm going to do it."

That's jazz, (whether or not we like Giddins or Barbone Street). And
that's why it is popular in our territory.

Steve Barbone

>From The Chadd's Ford Post (Weekly)
Top Stories  03/12/2004

Students get jazzed at music assembly
By Richard Schwartzman

The entire student body of Chadds Ford Elementary School sat on the
gymnasium floor listening in rapt attention to jazz played by one of the
area's leading jazz bands, the Barbone Street Jazz Band, last week.

As one unidentified teacher said while escorting her students back to
the classroom after the hour-long assembly, "You know they enjoy it when
they don't make a peep."

The idea for the special assembly, sponsored by the parent teachers'
organization, came from Chadds Ford Township resident Skip Barthold, the
PTO father in charge of assemblies. Barthold, a musician himself, said
the time was right to bring in Steve Barbone and his six-member group.

"What could be better than to bring these older musicians, with all
these years of experience, in front of
 young kids for the beginning of Music in Our Schools month," said
Barthold.He said many kids might not get a chance to hear the caliber of
music played by the group without the assembly. "These guys are tops.
... Maybe it will inspire somebody," he said.

According to Steve Barbone, his group has a total of 300 years worth of
music experience. Group members gave the youngsters and their teachers a
brief lesson in what jazz was all about, primarily through

The set began with a standard rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little
Star," followed by a syncopated jazz
style of the same tune. From there the group played some jazz classics
such as "Tiger Rag," "Tin Roof
Blues," "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "That's Why They Call Me Shine."

Between each number, members of the band told the students how they got
started in music and how their instruments fit into a jazz ensemble.

Trombonist Glenn Dodson, a former principal trombone with the
Philadelphia Orchestra, demonstrated
how the trombone can sound like an airplane or laughter, and trumpeter
Paul Grant had his horn sound
like a cry and a horse whinny.

Following the assembly and after being thanked by a few students, Dodson
and Grant commented on
playing at the school.

"You can see the curiosity on their faces," Grant said. "They wonder if
they're going to like it. We usually
win them over."

Dodson said it's important to play at schools, even elementary schools,
because it's part of the youngsters' overall education.

Barbone invited the student body to come see the band in nearby West
Chester at the Super Sunday Street Festival on June 6. "We are featuring
a wonderful jazz violinist, Jonathan Russell" he said. "And Jonathan is
one of your peers, 8 years old and a 3rd grader from New York City. Jazz
is for everybody so come cheer for him like you cheered for us today."

©Chadds Ford Post 2004

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