Jazz ensemble returns

An independent junior jazz ensemble that sprouted last year in the shadow of middle school music program cuts in the Medford School District will start its second year this fall.

The Medford Junior Jazz Ensemble will hold auditions for eighth- and ninth-graders at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, and Thursday, Sept. 23, at Tom's Guitar Warehouse, 1103 N. Riverside Ave. in Medford.

"I think we are going to be better than ever because we learned a lot the first year," said Michael Luciano, a then-Hedrick Middle School father who organized the ensemble.

Although a music teacher was added this year to Medford's middle school music program, the district's Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools still haven't restored the schools' jazz ensembles.

The middle school jazz ensemble was among the $9 million in Medford district cutbacks for 2009-2010, following a state revenue shortfall.

What followed was a community collaboration that established an independent junior jazz ensemble of about 20 kids in the seventh and eighth grades.

The program began in October 2009 with ensemble members meeting for practice three times a week at Tom's Guitar Warehouse in Medford. It was nearly free to participate. Students had to buy about $20 in sheet music, but scholarships were available.

Details: 541-608-7414.

— Staff reports

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