Jazz in the Valley is dedicated to the promotion and development of jazz education. JIV intitiates programs which nurture and promote the understanding and appreciation of jazz and its heritage, provide leadership to educators regarding curricula; assists teachers and practitioners with information and resources; and takes an active part in organizing clinics at local levels.
During the first four years of the festival, a "Paint to Jazz" program was developed for the Ellensburg School district. This program conducted educational presentations on the history of Jazz and its evolution and promoted artistic expression of jazz through creative paintings. These paintings are exhibited every year during the Jazz in the Valley Festival along the perimeter fencing at the Rotary Pavilion Main Stage. One year jazz banners were produced to hang in the downtown area during the festival.
The Festival has since expanded it's mission to include cultivating interest in jazz by providing clinics for students to interact with professional jazz artists. Through it's clinics, JIV encourages education which provides the knowledge and skills vital to a career in jazz and advocates for jazz in all appropriate forums, thereby building a larger group of both audience and artists.
For example, in 2007 we provided financial support for the CWU Vocal Jazz 1's trip to New York in January, where they were invited to perform at the International Association of Jazz Education convention. Here are some reflections from Vijay Singh (the director) about the event:
"...my group performed to a packed venue (standing room only by halfway) on Saturday Jan. 13, 2007 at 3pm..........all the "heavy hitters" of the vocal jazz world were there and we performed a full hour program featuring music arranged completely by CWU alumns, directors, and current students. To my knowledge, this has rarely (if ever) been done by other institutions except CWU and North Texas University (the big jazz factory).....this shows the strength of composers/arrangers that have come through and continue to choose CWU for their jazz/music education. Coach Moawad always encouraged students to do it all i.e the "real musicians" of old played, sang, wrote, taught, arranged, and were their own businessmen.......this is still an ideal we strive to communicate here at Central. We premiered six new pieces at the convention (written specifically for this event)....this also rarely happens.....most groups will premiere one or two new works.......my soloists were dynamite, rhythm section played well, and we featured two guest artists (Kirk Marcy, who used to sing/play with the Four Freshmen and now sings in Just 4 Kicks, and Rueben Alvarez, one of the premiere Latin percussionists in the jazz world today). An immediate standing ovation followed our last tune and the students floated off the stage on cloud 9.....it was the best gig they had at that point in the year and they were elated! Many thanks to JIV for helping make this trip possible for 19 exciting young musicians and future music educators! "
Since 2006, our educational outreach program has also worked with Central Washington Jazz Studies to sponsor a variety of music clinics for high school and college students with professsional Jazz musicians. Most of these encounters have involved the following: