Artist in Residency – Al Jarreau February 17-19, 2015

The 2015 Artist-N-Residency welcomed seventy-two students from three regional schools to experience an intimate, hands-on workshop with seven-time Grammy Award-winning jazz artist, Al Jarreau. Students from the Girard Academic Music Program, Philadelphia Performing Arts: A String Theory Charter School, and The Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy were selected by their administrators as top-vocalists to participate in a workshop designed around artistic excellence, mentorship, and inspiration. For six weeks preceding the master class, three teaching artists met twice a week to work with the selected students and their coaches in preparation for the 3-day residency. Students learned two selections from Al Jarreau's repertoire, and prepared a selection of their own choosing. Students were accompanied by a jazz ensemble that included Justin Faulkner, a former master class participate and now member of the Brandford Marsalis Quartet.

Al Jarreau working with the students on their performance
Teaching Artist Sherry Wilson Butler working with the students

During the workshop, Mr. Jarreau provided technical feedback, individual critique, and most importantly, shared his life story with the students. Mr. Jarreau was a dynamic speaker and a compassionate mentor, stressing the importance of stage presence, effective performance delivery, and communication. He set an excellent example for the students and emphasized the value of engaging, captivating, and inspiring their audience. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session in which Mr. Jarreau expanded upon his career as an artist, addressed his experience with segregation in the music community, and discussed the artists that inspired his work. Most importantly, Mr. Jarreau imparted his wisdom concerning the humanizing aspect of music, and the power of music to mesmerize and inspire an audience.

One of the student vocalists performing with teaching artist Sherry Wilson Butler
A student vocalist performing

Along with the participating schools, the Mann also partnered with the Clef Club of Philadelphia of Jazz & Performing Arts which was founded in 1966 by James Adams and members of an African American musicians union Local #274. Two of the teaching artists for this program are also educators at the Clef Club, and will now utilize the new strategies and techniques learned through this program. The Mann intends to follow up through post-workshop evaluations that encourage students to reflect on their experience and share their feedback with respect to program design and implementation. Each participant received a study guide, a residency t-shirt and tote bag. Transportation and lunch was also provided for the residency participants.

Other funders for this project included Louis N. Cassett Foundation the MKM Foundation, and You The Planet.


Students posing with Al Jarreau after the first day of the workshop
Students performing at the second day of the workshop for Al Jarreau
Student vocalists performing for Al Jarreau
Final performance of the students 

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