Eli Yamin will conduct two workshops at the Junior Thespian Festival 2014 being held in Coppell, Texas (near Dallas) from February 28 to March 1.
One is titled “Making a Soulful Sound with Nora’s Ark, the jazz musical.” The other is “Hot Rhythm, Protest and the Power of Song with Holding the Torch for Liberty, a jazz musical.” Each workshop will be held twice.
Congratulations to the young people in Jazz House Kids presents The Jazz Drama Program performance of “Scenes from Nora’s Ark, the jazz musical by Eli Yamin and Clifford Carlson.” The performance was held at Montclair State University’s Leshowitz H
The scenes were performed by five children ages 9-13 acting, singing, dancing with three high school students playing drums, trumpet, sax, Alex Tremblay on bass, and Eli Yamin conducting from the piano. Three out of the five featured performers had never been in a show before and rose to the challenge. The students rehearsed 13 times once a week for 2 hours plus three full rehearsals prior to the performance. The event was the culmination of a 14-week residency led by Eli Yamin with support from JDP choreographer Shireen Dickson and Montclair State University undergraduate students Melanie Yan and Samantha Roynestad.
Big thanks to the staff and supporters of Jazz House Kids and The Jazz Drama Program for making the whole thing possible. It was amazing to see the kids take hold of the music and story, make it their own through singing, dancing and acting!
(Photos by Christopher Drukker)
The results are in for the Motema Music / Rondi Charleston YouTube video campaign where every viewing of Rondi Charleston Live at Yoshi’s 2013 – “DNA” resulted in a $1 for the Jazz Drama Program. “DNA” is a track from Charleston’s critically acclaimed 2013 release, Signs of Life. On the last day of the campaign, December 31st, the video garnered 8,500 views (almost 500 views per day during the promotion period).
Jane Herzen from Motema Music and Rondi Charleston presented JDP’s Eli Yamin with a check for $8,500 at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP)|NYC Conference.
The funds will go toward the recording of the cast album for Message From Saturn, the jazz musical about the healing power of the blues.
Thanks everyone for your help in spreading the word!
Motema Music and Vocalist Rondi Charleston Celebrate the Season of Giving to Support the Jazz Drama Program
For each YouTube view of video “DNA” between December 13 and 31, vocalist Rondi Charleston and her label Motéma Music will make a donation of $1 to JDP, up to $10,000.
In August of 2013, vocalist Rondi Charleston, who was recently lauded as one of Entertainment Tonight’s “Artists to Watch” on ET.com, performed with her All Star Band at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. The performances have been captured in a series of three videos that will debut on YouTube on December 13, and that will launch a special holiday promotion to benefit the Jazz Drama Program (JDP).
Charleston, an alumni of Juilliard and the NYU Graduate School of Journalism, knows first-hand the value of incorporating the arts into education. Her later work as an investigative reporter at ABC alongside Diane Sawyer at Prime Time Live, reinforced her belief in the power of storytelling, a talent that has attracted critical acclaim to her work both as a songwriter and performer.
“We are thrilled to be able to support such a vital organization which brings jazz to a new generation of young people eager to embrace this dynamic and essential art form,” says Charleston. “The band and I had such a great time performing at the legendary Yoshi’s, and we’re excited to share some of our songs from these performances while supporting such an outstanding cause.”
Jana Herzen, President of Motéma Music, added, “Eli’s work with children creates an indelible impression that I’m sure stays with them for life and has a positive influence in many ways. His joy is infectious and his swing impeccable. I’ve been aware of his work for many years now and I’ve always enjoyed and admired him.”
Says Yamin, “Rondi Charleston brings her life experience to her songs, embracing the language of jazz as a living, breathing, and immediately relevant art form. That’s what The Jazz Drama Program does for children, telling stories that are relevant to children’s lives and giving young people access and opportunity to make jazz their own. We are grateful for Rondi’s support and the support of Motéma Music, a company that believes in the power of song to unite, uplift and inspire the world.”
We began rehearsals at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music on October 24th and continued weekly for seven weeks leading up to the recording session at Avatar on December 11.
It was amazing to watch the transformation of the students. They went from talented youngsters to poised pros in such a short span of time. Teacher Lisa Gwasda writes, “We all had such an amazing experience, and I thank you for choosing my students and for giving us this rare opportunity! We are all still raving about it! I look forward to working together in the future!!”
This is the Jazz Drama Program in action. Creativity, opportunity, jazz!
Just got back from rehearsal at Celia Cruz Bronx High School for Music. The young singers there are working hard on the songs and sound terrific. Today we worked on the meaning of “It’s the Way That You Talk,” which is sung by the Suffragists at their factory job. Alice sings…
“You’ve got to get their attention, start breaking some rules. Use all your assets, your words are your tools. Sometimes you can’t be dainty better turn it alright. And Alice going show you how to put up a fight.”
It reminded us of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Civil Rights Movement. People standing up and demanding to be heard!
Everyone is so excited to record the vocal tracks!
When writing the lyrics for the opening number, Newsgirl Rag, I thought about that Billy Joel tune, We Didn’t Start The Fire. As a Social Studies teacher I had remembered many years before a project one of my colleagues did with that song. There were so many mentions of people Mr. Joel’s song that the students used it as a sort of “treasure hunt”. I recall how the “hunt” swept through the school with enthusiasm as the children had to figure out who each person was. Kids from different floors and grades, whom I had never even seen before in the school, would come up to me and ask who this person was? Where that place was? I remember a little girl asking me, “Where is the River Kwai and is the bridge still there?” I laughed and explained it to her. I thought, kids love a mystery and a challenge and I recall how the whole school got involved in that game. I’d always wanted to write a song like that, that would turn a history lesson into fun activity. Newsgirl Rag is that song. It’s so full of historical events that I know a Social Studies teacher would just look at it and smile. There is a whole year’s curriculum right there.
- Clifford Carlson (co-author of Holding the Torch for Liberty)
Excerpt of lyrics to Newsgirl Rag by Eli Yamin and Clifford Carlson
SONG- NEWSGIRL RAG
COME AND GET THE PAPER
CHECK OUT ALL THE NEWS
GERMANS SIGN THE TREATY
KAISER THOUGHT HE’D NEVER LOSE
READ IT IN THE LEDGER
KNOWLEDGE FOR A PENNY
LEARN ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND YOU
IT’S ALL RIGHT HERE IN THE NEWS.
WOMEN WANT AMENDMENT
DEMAND THE RIGHT TO VOTE
WILSON SAYS FORGET IT
NOT THE TIME TO ROCK THE BOAT.
SUFFRAGISTS ARE MARCHING
FIGHTING FOR TOMORROW
WE’RE READY TO FIGHT
IS THAT RIGHT?
IT’S ALL RIGHT HERE IN THE NEWS