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CNY Jazz scholastic pipeline returns full force



Larry Luttinger


CNY Jazz scholastic pipeline returns full force

Syracuse NY – Despite the hard hit by the pandemic and its negative impact on schools and families, CNY Jazz continued to present its youth programs in virtual and hybrid settings. This year, the organization’s “pipeline” of enrichment programs that follow students through grade school and into college returns full force, with the goal of full enrollment in live settings across the area.

The first to occur is the 3rd annual “Berkshire Bank Interscholastic Jazz Festival,” to take place Sundays May 7th and 21st at the newly renovated and covered Sharkey’s Event Center in Liverpool. From 3 to 8 p.m. each day, the public and band parents can enjoy free admission, Sharkey’s food, drink, and the region’s finest school jazz ensembles of all kinds: combos, big bands, even a jazz string group, accompanied by nationally renowned guest soloists who will double as master class clinicians with each group. This year’s guest teaching artists are Claire Daly, baritone saxophonist with the seminal DIVA jazz orchestra and founding member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center education faculty, and Mike Carbone, jazz studies leader at Binghamton University. “This program was born because kids everywhere were forced to rehearse 12 feet apart in school with masks and were not able to perform in school,” said Larry Luttinger, CNY Jazz leader. “Morale was non-existent, and programs were in jeopardy. When I heard this, we put this outdoor event together quickly. As it turned out, educators, students, and parents alike loved the format and setting. Now it’s a permanent fixture on the enrichment scene for the extended region.”

For over 20 years in Central New York, the last day of school in June is always closely followed by the CNY Jazz SummerJazz Workshop, where kids get to explore the arts of improvisation. Newly moved to the W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts at Le Moyne College, the 2023 workshop will be topped off with a visit by internationally recognized jazz educator John Piazza, Jr., who will coach the program’s four combos and solo with them. Scheduled for June 26 to 29, registration is now open at All those interested may visit this site for full details on the program. “We’ve turned out scores of professionals in all walks of life from this workshop, over a thousand graduates and counting,” according to Luttinger. “Every year, almost all students selected for All-County jazz groups are grads. That says something.”

The ultimate CNY Jazz pipeline program is the CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra, accessible by audition to all as a pre-professional apprenticeship program, a paying summer job for area youth, who join the American Federation of Musicians and receive prevailing rates for performing free public concerts throughout the summer. This season’s venues include Cazenovia Counterpoint, Le Moyne College, the Northeast Jazz & Wine Festival, and the Manlius Amphitheater. “We prepare and follow these kids and others by helping record their college audition videos and offering letters of recommendation, a kind of ‘On Point for College’ for music,” said Luttinger. We’re proud to say that we’ve been a small part of their success in life in many fields, as professional teachers, doctors, lawyers, and more. Back in the day, even Syracuse’s famous expatriate and former Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe was in this program.”

The programs are supported by a large family of supporters, including Senator John Mannion, Berkshire Bank, the John Ben Snow Foundation, Mackenzie Hughes, Bousquet Holstein, Music & Arts, The Golub Foundation, Syracuse Sounds of Music Association, the American Federation of Musicians MPTF Fund (Musicians Protective Trust Fund), CNY Arts and Onondaga County, and corporate and individual scholarship donors for underserved and urban kids.

For more information on all programs and how to donate or create a named scholarship, contact CNY Jazz at 315-479-5299 or Detailed program information is available at . CNY Jazz Youth Orchestra dates and times will be announced at a later date.