THE HOTTEST TICKET IN NEW ORLEANS
by Caleb Chapman (JEN President)
Since becoming President of the Jazz Education Network a few months ago I am happy to tell you that I have been inundated by people asking how they can help. There is always a great need in the organization for people to volunteer and give time by serving on our committees that shoulder so much of the work at JEN. However, I realize that not every member has enough time to commit at that level. Today I want to talk to you about another way that all members can help in our scholarship efforts.
For the last several years JEN hosted a fundraising gala during the conference to raise funds for education. I would love to tell you they have been a huge success, but that isn’t exactly the case. Typically the cost of tickets to the events were only slightly more than the expense of holding the dinner. From there we would rely on donations and auctions throughout the night to raise funds. So at the end of the events, which were a labor of love for so many volunteers, we would be left with $5,000-$10,000 for education – good but certainly a far cry from what is needed rolling forward.
This year we are trying something completely different and we absolutely need your help to ensure it is the success we want it to be! For the first time we will be holding a Scholarship Concert at the conference to raise funds for our scholarship fund and additional education initiatives. Here’s how it will work. We have gathered several of the biggest names in jazz who are donating their talent and time for a very special, one night only performance. This concert will be held on Friday, January 6 at 7:00PM and will be the only one during the weekend not covered by the conference registration fee and requires a separate $25 ticket. The beauty of the concept is that – different from the previous galas – EVERY PENNY OF THE TICKET SALES GOES DIRECTLY TO OUR SCHOLARSHIP INITIATIVES! So, if 1,500 of us decide to buy tickets, a whopping $37,500 will be raised!
How serious and committed am I as JEN President to this idea? Enough that in addition to providing the house band in the form of the Crescent Super Band and shouldering the cost to get them there, I am buying the first 80 tickets to the concert. However, the real heroes of the event are the many artists I asked to make it a night to remember. Hosting the backbone of the music for the night is the three-time GRAMMY-winning saxophonist, Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), who will be performing music from his last album with the Crescent Super Band which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts, The Inside of the Outside. All of the music is comprised of Jeff’s original compositions arranged for big band and each song will feature some very special guests, many of whom you can only see at the Scholarship Concert.
The featured artists for the night are a veritable who’s who in jazz, including 2 NEA Jazz Masters and a combined 21 GRAMMY awards among them. The line-up includes Branford Marsalis, Ramsey Lewis, Randy Brecker, Rashawn Ross, Kirk Whalum, John Beasley, Victor Wooten, Stanton Moore, Johnny Vidacovich, and Tony Dagradi. Not only are each of them donating their performance, they are also covering their expenses to be at the conference like all of our performers, clinicians, and presenters. Clearly, funding jazz education for our students is a priority for them as well.
The artists, our conference staff, our Development Committee, and countless volunteers have already put in many hours to ensure that this first-ever Scholarship Concert is nothing short of spectacular. The last piece that’s missing is you! If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, please visit jazzednet.org today and do it! And, if you are not able to attend the conference this year please consider purchasing a ticket or tickets for New Orleans area students to be able to attend the concert, or making a donation to our scholarship fund. Your support can and will make a difference. See you all in New Orleans!
In addition to his role as JEN President, Caleb Chapman is Founder and President of Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse, Director of the Crescent Super Band, and Artistic Director for Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts. He serves on several boards including the Utah Arts Council, and is an award-winning musician, producer, educator, author, and speaker. To learn more about Caleb, please visit www.ccsoundhouse.com.