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The Times
  • Jazz camp to introduce students to musical art form

  • Bill Jacobs, a New York City-based jazz musician, loves Little Falls and teaches music to expose the power of jazz as an art form.

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  • Bill Jacobs, a New York City-based jazz musician, loves Little Falls and teaches music to expose the power of jazz as an art form.
    Jacobs will teach a one-week music camp for students beginning Monday at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts.
    Though Jacobs lives in New York City, he has a home in Little Falls and wanted to spend some of his summer in the Mohawk Valley.
    “I love the city, it’s so unique,” said Jacobs. “I feel like we (Jacobs and partner Theresa) were guided there.”
    His friends suggested that he reach out to the local arts center about possibly spreading his love and expertise of jazz. That’s what he intends to do while teaching this camp.
    “There’s a local jazz station but no live jazz music in the area,” said Jacobs. “I want to give the community a greater exposure to the real thing, which is a highly respected American art form.”
    He said the main focuses of the camp will include musicianship, improvisation and jazz history.
    Jacobs was introduced to the performing arts while being raised in Queens with a father who had a doctorate in music education. He performed in musical productions and directed a gospel choir.
    Jacobs started to perform live with a local dance band while attending high school and is a skilled percussionist, but his main focus is on vibraphone. Jacobs also holds positions as the band leader of the Bill Jacobs Ensemble, composer and educator.
    Since the jazz camp is aimed toward music students in junior high school through college, Jacobs is being introduced to local schools to possibly plan an in-school program for the winter months. This would help introduce him to potential campers.
    “We’re trying to do all that we can to see this grow into a bigger program, hopefully, next summer or the following summer,” said Kevin Mihaly, executive director of the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts.

    JAZZ CAMP

    When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 22-26.
    Where: Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts, 403 Canal Place, Little Falls.
    Registration fee: $95. Scholarships are available.
    Register: Call 823-0808 or email director@mohawkvalleyarts.org.
    Drum course: Bill Jacobs will offer an evening African drumming course with a Djembe focus during the weeks of July 22 and July 29. No musical background is required and anyone interested can register ahead of time or walk-in during a scheduled class time from 6 to 8 p.m. The cost is $20 per day or $80 for a five-day week.

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