June 26, 2017

From a Former Student at Louis Armstrong Middle School

“I had the life changing experience to have studied under the professorship of  Mr. Carlson and Mr.Yamin, while attending Louis Armstrong M.S from 1997 – 2004. Since that time I continued to study music and recently received my Masters Degree in Classical Voice and Opera Studies from NYU.”

– Tyenne Sillekens

Survey Highlights from Lionel Hampton Jazz Fest 2013

The following comments are from a survey conducted after a Jazz Drama Program hosted workshop where songs from Holding the Torch for Liberty were rehearsed and performed. The event was part of the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival held at University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.

What was your favorite part of participating in Holding the Torch for Liberty?

“I loved working with a different kind of music than I’m used to (jazz) and working in a professional setting. It helped me and I learned a lot.”

What was different about working on this jazz show compared to other music or theatre shows you have worked on in the past?

“It’s the only musical that combines jazz with a positive message about American Culture.” —Musician

“There’s a lot more free movement and attitudes with jazz.”

“The emotion in the music and the freedom to add things.”

Describe one thing you learned:

“I learned more about women’s suffrage.”

“I learned how to swing.”

“I learned that jazz can teach more about life than music [by] itself.”

“Creating communities can be that easy if you put in the effort.” -Teacher

From the Principal at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music

What was the experience of students from the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music after participating in the cast recording of Holding the Torch for Liberty?

“Thank you Eli for the wonderful experience you have allowed our students to have with the Jazz Drama Program and the recording at Avatar Studios. I share your vision and dream to have students experience music and apply its force to guide them through life.”

Dr. William Rodriguez, Principal and Founder, Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music

From the Principal at Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences

What did the Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences in New Mexico experience by putting on Nora’s Ark, the jazz musical?

“The music was powerful and catchy and introduced many of our students to the joys of jazz. We had a few students who were sure that they didn’t like jazz before we began rehearsals and after a couple of weeks, they had actually become fans of jazz! The kids continued to sing the songs in class long after the play was finished.”

“The play’s story line led to a range of curricular tie-ins, including global warming and pollution, animal survival, animal habitats, endangered species, predator and prey, nautical terms and ship lore to name a few.”

Rayna Dineen, Principal, Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences