Saturday, December 14, 2013

Long Beach Jazz Angels


I recently had the opportunity to check out a free show that the Los Angeles Philharmonic put on as part of their Neighborhood Concert series, and on the bill was a group I had never heard of before, the Long Beach Jazz Angels. I liked what I saw, so I thought I would look into them a bit more, and give them a shout-out on my blog.

The Jazz Angels is a program based out of Long Beach, California that lets kids get involved in music performance outside of the usual school setting. Their mission statement is as follows: “The Jazz Angels creates an environment for the youth of greater Long Beach to develop self-confidence and leadership skills while learning, playing and preserving jazz through professional music mentoring. These skills and experiences transcend the musical feeling and impact all areas of the young musician’s personal growth.”

These kids have a wonderful opportunity to learn and play alongside profession musicians, and the group I had saw included an instructor on the double bass, and youth on the drums, keyboards, sax and trumpet. The organization has the music arranged specifically for its ensembles, and in this case they got to play along with the LA Phil on a couple of numbers. What a tremendous moment in time for these kids!

There are a few different ways for youth to participate. There are ongoing summer, winter, fall, and spring programs, each of which has eight rehearsals and at least two performances. These sessions cost around $250, and needs-based scholarships are available. They also have special programs, such as the recent A LOT initiative, which was funded by grants from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the NEA. This program involved twenty youth (ages 10 to 14), and included free concerts in September and October.

The Jazz Angels is a neat organization that is helping preserve a truly American art form while giving our youth a chance to grow musically and contribute to our community. If you have a kid (or are a kid) in Long Beach or its surrounding communities you really ought to look into their programs and see if they interest you.

You can get more information about the group, download an application or make a donation to their cause at

Please check it out!

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