Hailed by JazzTimes as “one of the most successful and respected jazz education programs in the country,” the NEA grant recipient, and award winning Jazz House Kids has inspired more than 45,000 young musicians since its launch and touched a growing, annual audience of 25,000. But the most important thing to Melissa is that the program be available to all and offer a safe and nurturing home for it’s students, staff and supporters. Growing up in a mixed race home during the civil rights era, Melissa struggled to overcome prejudice and ostracism. “My mom was practically disowned by her family for marrying a black man.” There was bullying and name calling. “The city was not a welcoming place for us, but my parents stressed the importance of treating people fairly and equally. But also, that we had to stand up for each other.”
That attitude touches every element of the jazz house, and what Melissa started and Christian nurtured is now growing stronger through an amazing community of activists and leaders from all avenues of society. The diversity can be seen in staff, board and organizational meetings and also at the incredibly imaginative and varied fund raising events the Jazz House holds every year. It’s especially present in the student body and at the two week summer camp with enrollees from around the world. As Melissa told the Montclair Times. “The most heartwarming aspect of this has been watching jazz inspire our students to develop their own communities. They care about each other, cheer each other on. Jazz offers a very rich environment to grow in—it becomes family. I’ve seen that play out over and over again. Students build lifelong friendships. They become part of something positive, something that will grow with them throughout their lives.”
Jazz House Kids’ contemporary, colorful offices and studios opened in February, 2013, enabling us to consolidate our administrative work and our classrooms into one big, happy space.
We now have 4,500 square feet to call home. Beautifully renovated by Steven Plofker and Associates, with a student- and staff-friendly space designed gratis by Montclair architect John Reimnitz, the Jazz House boasts an open, flexible and spacious office area, a galley kitchen, and three acoustically treated rehearsal rooms of different sizes where our ensembles and big bands meet. Located at 347 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, NJ, our headquarters anchors the township’s burgeoning new arts district.
We are grateful for the many monetary and in-kind donations from the following supporters who helped us build our “house.”
|The Jazz House Kids Board of Directors|
|Rose Cali and the late John J. Cali|
|John Reimnitz Architect – John M. Reimnitz AIA, LEED p|
|Steven D. Plofker||Willow Street Partners|
|Roberta Baldwin and Holly Hunter Christovao||Keller Williams NJ Metro Group Realty, Montclair|
|E.J. Grassmann Trust|
|Elizabeth and Barets O. Benjamin||Charitable Foundation|
|The Hyde and Watson Foundation|
|L.P. Schenck Fund|
|Schumann Fund for New Jersey|
|Panasonic Corporation of America|
|Jerome Branch||Absolute Crespo and K & S Security Systems|
|Jei Flores||Final Touch|
|Celso Leniar||Shine Hardwood Flooring|
|Mark Parra||Atlas Desk|
If you are interested in renting the Jazz House for a class, event, rehearsal, workshop, or photo or commercial shoot, please contact Lori Montague, Manager of Operations and Special Projects, at 973-744-2273.