MONROE, CT — Creative Music Center will host a final summer performance by its jazz camp students this Friday. The concert will begin at 6 p.m. at the center on 701 Main St. The public is invited to listen to such classics as “Song for My Father”, “Work Song” and “Blue Bossa.”
As COVID-19 restrictions eased, the camp was started in hopes of opening artistic expression for kids following the pandemic shutdowns. The effort was led by Natalie Cowley, of Newtown, who worked with other parents of student musicians and Creative Music’s Barb Masuk.
“So many of us have had to shelter during the pandemic, “ said Cowley. “Our kids have been incredibly eager to return to playing live music together. Before the pandemic, they were jamming at each other’s houses, and loving it. I am thrilled that Creative Music was willing to create a program to harness that enthusiasm!”
Crowley and fellow parents brought the idea to Masuk’s attention as the state of Connecticut started to open up and she contacted Creative Music staff teacher and jazz professional Anthony Pellegrini, setting the wheels in motion. Pellegrini enthusiastically took on the challenge of creating an inspiring summer curriculum that was ambitious, while meeting CDC guidelines.
Masuk and Pellegrini decided to erect an outdoor tented area, allowing students to play in an open-air environment.
“At first we thought we could accommodate the band in our 1,500-square-foot multi-purpose room,” said Masuk. “But after careful consideration, we decided ‘it’s summer’ so let’s take advantage of the fresh air and outside environs. The band parents agreed that being outdoors was preferred with the option to move indoors if weather required.”
“The parents have been an absolute delight to work with,” said Pellegrini. “The spirit of cooperation has literally put ‘music in the air’ and helped to give the kids the artistic release they badly needed coming out of the more restrictive COVID mandates.”
In addition to Cowley, whose son Evan plays on piano, other local involved families have included Carla Barzetti of Newtown with son Johnny on baritone sax, Kelly Connors of Newtown with daughter Abby on bells/percussion, Michelle Dargon of Newtown with son Liam on drums, Josephine Feola of Newtown with daughter Victoria on oboe and son David on alto sax, and Leisel Tala of Easton with son Ashton on alto sax.