“Let’s do it again next year” – the excitement was contagious as 20 girls packed up their instruments surrounded by their families who had come to witness the concert finale of the first Jazz Girls Day in Indiana. Guided by eight internationally acclaimed clinicians – Jamie Baum (flute), Shawn Goodman (clarinet), Monika Herzig (piano), Janiece Jaffe (vocals), Hannah Johnson (drums), Bethany Robinson (bass), Jennifer Siukola (trumpet), and Leni Stern (guitar) – the girls participated in a day of discussions, improvisation clinics, and combo coaching as well as had an opportunity to get to know each other. And to top it off – we did it not only once but twice – two days later with six young saxophone players in South Bend, Indiana.
Jazz Girls Day is an event specifically designed to invite girls and young women into the world of jazz. It includes games, clinics, jam sessions, performances, and panel discussions to help give girls a break from the male dominate jazz world they encounter on all other days. The whole point is to provide role models and a safe space so that girls can consider taking up jazz, and specifically, jazz improvisation. The event was initiated by SFJazz five years ago – this year we presented it in Indianapolis and South Bend. Hopefully it’ll be just the beginning of many more to come in all States and all around the world.
Leading up to the event, I gathered a group of dedicated Arts Administration students who helped me plan, promote, fundraise, organize equipment, register, prepare lunches, and so much more. Many thanks to the amazing team of Jordan McCarty, Tyra Pinto, Alanna Rader, and Maria Colvin. We also had a variety of sponsors and grants that made it possible to offer the event free for the participants and bring in Jamie Baum and Leni Stern from New York. Thank you to the Indiana Arts Commission, the Jazz Kitchen and Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, Yats, Sweetwater Sound, Sam Ash, Walnut Street Inn, Yamaha, Symphonic Youth Orchestra, Jazz Education Network, Indiana Jazz Educators Association, Black & Ramer Insurance, and Altus Flutes – it takes a village!
Below is a picture gallery with impressions from the events and surrounding concerts – the seeds are planted. Let’s do it again next year and grow the joy of making music, participating in jazz – America’s classical music, and confident women who are not afraid to take risks and have their voices heard. Videos coming soon!