Friday morning (Oct. 10) at Cass Technical High School, budding young musicians will receive technical advice – and inspiration – when acclaimed jazz bassist Christian McBride visits the campus accompanied by the Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra I, MSU’s premier student jazz ensemble.
McBride’s student workshop and the exclusive one-hour concert for Cass Tech’s student body are made possible through State’s MSUFCU Jazz Artist-in-Residence Program, now in its second year, bolstered by a $1 million endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union.
“The Credit Union’s gift catapults us to the top five or 10 jazz programs in the country,” says Detroit native Rodney Whitaker, director of jazz studies at the MSU College of Music and a celebrated jazz bassist in his own right. “It’s made us more visible. We’ve become a model. Every jazz program director I know is asking how we do what we do.”
The Artist-in-Residence Program provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration and performance opportunities for Michigan State jazz students with the world’s best jazz musicians. Additionally, the artists visit high school and junior high jazz programs throughout the state. Beyond his performing renown, McBride, a Philadelphia native who will be with MSU through Oct. 12, is well known as a composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator.
“We’re always excited when famous people come to visit,” says Cass Tech music teacher Deanna Burrows. “This should be a special experience for our music students.” After visiting the school McBride will perform with Jazz Orchestra I in a concert open to the public at 8 p.m. Friday at Fairchild Theatre, MSU Auditorium, on the East Lansing campus.
With a world-renowned artist and so much music coming to a single Detroit high school, can we for just one day call it Cazz Tech?