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Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Jazz Academy Marks 10 Year Anniversary

This week Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (“CJP”), under the direction of artistic director and co-founder Orbert Davis, concludes its 10th year of Summer Jazz Academy.

A two-week, full-day music intensive, Jazz Academy invites young musicians from across the Chicago metropolitan area to work beside orchestra members, distinguished musicians, and artists and educators from around the city. Originally launched in July 2008 at the University of Illinois at Chicago during Davis’ tenure there as Director of Jazz Studies, faculty member, the camp moved to Chicago State University in 2014, where the professional orchestra also rehearses. In 2016 the Jazz Academy expanded to also offer a weekly Saturday program during the school year from September to May.

This anniversary comes during the City of Chicago’s “Year of Creative Youth.” A citywide celebration announced by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. CJP has fully embraced the concurrence by showcasing youth during the orchestra’s three-concert series this summer at Millennium Park.

“We are proud to have so many of our students on stage this summer,” says Davis.

“Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth shines a light on the immense artistic talent of the city’s young people and the many cultural organizations that inspire them,” said Mark Kelly, commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.” Congratulations to the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic for its remarkable programs and performances that prepare youth to be successful artists and contribute to Chicago’s rich cultural landscape.”

One such example is CJP alumni Mayshell Morris. Now a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she returned to Chicago this summer to perform in the orchestra’s Nelson Mandela Centennial concert on Monday, July 16 in Millennium Park. “Studying with Orbert and the other faculty at CJP helped me prepare for my auditions at Berklee,” Morris shared, “and I am so happy to now be playing with many of my former teachers and mentors in CJP’s professional orchestra.”

Students from CJP’s Summer Jazz Academy and other young musicians from across the city, will be performing on August 29 at the orchestra’s final summer concert. There, youth musicians will lead a second-line style parade through Millennium Park, encouraging attendees of all ages to join in on the procession. The performance called, “Legends and Lions,” kicks off the Millennium Park portion of the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival.

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