Melissa Walker founder and president of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS

Dear Friends,

Missions do not flourish without the passion and commitment of so many. For the past 20 years, JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has been exceptionally fortunate to always have a chorus of supporters — the great educators and practitioners who make our mission swing in the lives of young people, committed board members and advisors, funders, dedicated staff, supportive families and volunteers. Every successful nonprofit relies on this meaningful network support and the extraordinary ecosystem of volunteerism and philanthropy that drives innovation in our community.

New Jersey is home to thousands of nonprofits doing tremendous work to support their communities. Did you know that over 1.8 million people volunteer at New Jersey nonprofits annually, providing over 225 million hours of service valued at more than $5.3 billion? Now that’s what we call IMPACT.

We have exciting news to share about two special honors.

Russ Berrie Award

I am deeply grateful to join the family of recipients of the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award, “recognizing unsung heroes from around New Jersey who demonstrate their passion and unstoppable commitment to serve the most vulnerable for the past 27 years.” I can’t adequately express my surprise as I know many remarkable leaders doing such incredible and meaningful work in New Jersey. It is truly an honor for being recognized for sharing Russ Berrie’s vision and that of the Foundation, to work with urgency and purpose in making a social investment that enriches the communities we serve. Since 1997, more than $4 million in cash awards have been presented to recognize the personal sacrifices and commitments individuals have made to serve others.

I thank my board chair, Terry Woodard for nominating me and the Russell Berrie Foundation, the Advisory Board, and Ramapo College Foundation for this prestigious honor. Congratulations to my fellow recipients. I am humbled to be in such incredible company!
Read the full press release here.

Melissa Walker and Meredith Lee
Meredith Lee of the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award with Melissa Walker at the JAZZ HOUSE

Impact 100 Finalist

Impact 100 EssexImpact100 Essex logo is a giving circle founded and funded by women in Essex County dedicated to engage women in collective giving, providing transformative grants to organizations that serve underrepresented communities in Essex County, NJ, and to spur local nonprofits to dream big – and succeed! Each year, Impact100 Essex awards a grant of $100,000 to support an important, innovative project managed by a local nonprofit organization addressing the needs of historically underrepresented communities.

We are incredibly grateful and beyond thrilled to be one of the four finalists for this year’s game-changing grant that would will address one of our biggest challenges – ensuring students from Essex County’s low-income communities have safe and reliable access to life-changing out-of-school time and summer music education programs – by purchasing a 15-seat van, our long dreamed for JAZZ HOUSE bus. Congratulations to the other finalists and their outstanding projects — Connections at Home, the Montclair State University Foundation and Project U.S.E. This year’s winner will be announced on April 25!


CHiCA Power Spring Residency

2023 Chica Power with Melissa WalkerRiSE + IMPROViSE! Lastly, this weekend we closed out our six-week free CHiCA Power Spring Residency for middle school and high school girls with two exciting events: Saturday’s Leadership Summit with our “near-peer” mentorship panel discussion, and on Sunday, our final concert at Porta Montclair. Big shoutout to our program co-directors Brianne Ford and Jennifer Grantham as well as our faculty/ensemble directors, Nicki Denner, Caili O’Doherty, and Leslie Vonner, teaching and program assistants, and distinguished guest artists.
We thank our 2023 CHiCA Power Residency Supporters: The ASCAP Foundation Louis Armstrong Fund, Montclair Fund for Women, The Patrina Foundation and PSEG Foundation with additional support from the Gia Maione Prima Foundation and other generous supporters.

2023 Chica Power Spring Residency group

Gratefully yours,

Melissa Walker signature

Sign up for Summer!

Immerse yourself in the music of jazz’s iconic composers!
Mondays + Tuesdays – Weekly small instrumental ensembles focus on the improvised language they used to create their unique sound.
Wednesdays – Power up your skill set with electives in composition, improv, rhythm section workout, and the JAZZ HOUSE Vocal Ensemble. Our adult students are welcome too!

JOiN US for our award-winning two-week intensive session!
Instrumental students and vocal students on all levels receive top-notch instruction to develop key skills, including enhanced knowledge of fundamentals and jazz performance. Workshop students perform at the world-renowned Dizzy’s Club in NYC and at the MONTCLAIR JAZZ FEST Lackawanna Block Party + DJ Brother Mister Dance Party presented by BDP Holdings, on Saturday, August 12.

2023 JAZZ HOUSE Summer Workshop

Summer in the City! July 10-15 | July 17-22

NYC students only — JOiN US in for Jazz in July, brand-new jazz instrumental and vocal programming for all levels! During the weeklong sessions, students will develop key skills, advance knowledge in fundamentals, and learn the art of performance. Whether you’re new to jazz and have never played an instrument or are already a seasoned player, this seriously fun summer intensive is for you.
JAZZ HOUSE @ Trinity Youth
Location: Trinity Commons | 76 Trinity Place, New York City

Mark Your Calendar

Jazz at One
Winard Harper

Jazz at One

Featuring Winard Harper + Jeli Posse

St. Paul’s Chapel, Broadway & Fulton Street, NYC + Livestreamed
Winard Harper, drums
Anthony Perez, bass
Nick Masters, piano
Charlie Singler, guitar
Kameelah Harper, vocals
Anthony Ware, saxophone
Ted Chubb, trumpet
Gabriel Roxbury, percussion
AC Lincoln, tap dance

Spend your lunch break listening to live jazz! As part of Trinity’s commitment to jazz, a uniquely American art form and uniting voice for our collective story and experience, Trinity Church Wall Street presents Jazz at One in collaboration with JAZZ HOUSE KiDS. Curated by our own Ted Chubb, the concerts feature a lineup of talented artists each week, exploring some of the most creative music in the jazz idiom. All concerts are free, open to the public, and will be livestreamed here. If you missed any previous performances, watch them on the livestream archive.

Jazz at One coming up:

April 24 | Jerome Jennings & Naomi Extra “Get Free Collective”
May 1 | Wilson/Rosnes/Washington Trio

American Pianists Awards

Gala Finals | Saturday, April 22

We wish the best of luck to our talented JAZZ HOUSE alumni Caelan Cardello, Esteban Castro, and Isaiah J. Thompson who represent three out of the five finalists of the America Pianists Award, the prestigious honor awarded every four years is the world’s largest jazz competition. We’ll be there to root you on in Indianapolis this weekend!

Come Jam with The Caili O'Doherty Trio on April 27th with opening act, the SUNDAY JAZZ AMBASSADORS

JAZZ in the Annex | Thursday, April 27

Upstairs (the Annex) at JAZZ HOUSE @ Montclair

The JAZZ HOUSE Ambassadors open for the Caili O’Doherty Trio followed by an open jam session!
Caili O’Doherty – piano, director of the JAZZ HOUSE Ambassadors
Tamir Schmerling – bass
Cory Cox – drums
Sarah Hanahan – Alto Sax

6:30 pm | doors open
7:00 pm | JAZZ HOUSE Ambassadors
7:30 pm | Caili O’Doherty Trio
8:30 pm | Open jam hosted by Birsa Chatterjee
Cover: $10 at the door; JAZZ HOUSE current students are free
Snacks, beverages and merch available for purchase

Bring your instrument and your friends to jam!
International Jazz Day

Celebrating International Jazz Day

Sunday, April 30  |  3:00 – 5:00 pm
The Chase Room @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center

JOiN US for our free annual collaborative concert event in celebration of International Jazz Day, co-produced by NJPAC and JAZZ HOUSE KiDS, and part of the worldwide celebration of jazz. Performances by students from JAZZ HOUSE Big Band, NJPAC’s jazz poetry program, City Verses, NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens ensemble and special guests.

Reservations are required.

Sneak Peek at May: Coming Up!

Monday, May 1
Jazz at One featuring Wilson/Rosnes/Washington Trio
@ St. Paul’s Cathedral, NYC

Sunday, May 7
Jazz Icons featuring Christian McBride + Kenny Barron
@ Trinity Church Wall Street, NYC

Thursday, May 11
JAZZ HOUSE Music Scholars Newark Showcase
@ Science Park High School, Newark

Friday, May 12
Teens Take the Met!
@ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Saturday, May 20 + Sunday, May 21
JAZZ HOUSE Student Concert
@ Trinity Church Wall Street, NYC

Thursday, May 25
Jazz in the Annex featuring the Mike Lee Quartet
@ JAZZ HOUSE @ Montclair Annex

Follow us on social media for the latest news!

Steve Turre leading a masterclass at the JAZZ HOUSE Pre-College Instrumental Academy


Major support for our programs is provided by Amazon; Appaloosa Management Charitable Foundation, Inc.; BDP Holdings, LLC; John J. & Rose Cali Family Foundation; Leslie + Ted Dixon; Gia Maione Prima Foundation; Susan + Chris Gifford; Kenneth Goldman Donor Foundation; Kopf Foundation, Manhattan Mechanical Contractors, Inc.; Montclair Center BID; National Endowment for the Arts; New Jersey Arts and Cultural Renewal Fund; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Ralph Pucci International; Regan Family Foundation; Janet Shapiro + Phillip Byrd; Sovos Brands; TD Charitable Foundation; Trinity Church Wall Street; Victoria Foundation; We Are All Music Foundation and our other many other generous donors.