Ten high school musicians have been chosen to join the J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne All-Star Ensemble, a selective group of young artists who've honed their skill through the J.C. Heard Jazz Week@Wayne workshop that provides high school students with an intensive, week-long jazz education.
The honor culminates with the chosen students performing live onstage at the globally renowned Detroit Jazz Festival at Hart Plaza on Sept. 1.
The 10 students chosen are:
- Michael Abbo, a 12th-grade trombonist from U of D Jesuit High School.
- Matthew Balos, a 10th-grade drummer from Grosse Pointe South High School.
- Hayden Cusmano, a 12th-grade guitarist from Plymouth High School.
- Kurton Harrison, a 12th-grade trumpeter from Detroit School of Arts.
- Timothy Kohn, an 11th-grade alto saxophonist from Community High School.
- Joseph Lauerman, a 12th-grade pianist from West Bloomfield High School.
- Nate Lewis, a 12th-grade baritone saxophonist from Canton High School.
- Oliver Mayman, a 12th-grade vibraphonist from Ann Arbor Community High School.
- Simon Metzger, a 10th-grade drummer from Bowling Green High School.
- Aaron Snyder, a 12th-grade tenor saxophonist from Interlochen Arts Academy.
The students were selected from the larger class of young jazz artists who turn out each summer from urban, rural and suburban settings to be part of the workshop, which is driven by a collaboration between the Wayne State University Department of Music, the Detroit Jazz Festival and the J.C. Heard Legacy, the group responsible for preserving the legacy of jazz drumming virtuoso and longtime Detroit resident J.C. Heard.
Renamed after Heard in 2012, the initiative brings together 40 high school students picked from competitive auditions. Tuition is free and has seen 100 percent attendance every year, a figure that includes many returning students.
The workshop's students have enjoyed a high success rate, with many earning scholarship offers to continue their jazz education at the university level.
The program nurtures students with a time-tested curriculum that blends formal academic discipline with the historic models of the Street-School. Guided by WSU's Jazz faculty, guest artists from the Detroit community and national artist/educators sponsored by the Detroit Jazz Festival, students study jazz improvisation, theory and ensemble playing. They work in master class settings, jam sessions, and small and large ensemble rehearsals.