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Cultural Event Report
The cultural event that I attended prior to my departure for Afghanistan is a jazz concert at the Richmond Library. The concert was performed by the Richmond Youth Jazz Guild and the event was free. My youngest son has been performing with the Jazz Guild since 2010 and they are some of the most talentant kids. I physical don’t remember the date and time but the start time was 8:00 p.m. This music selection on this night was from Miles Davis; one of the greatest jazz performers of all times. The night was very calm, everyone was very professional, and the kids had black suits with white shirts and black ties. The concert was schedule for one hour and a half but the audience loved the kids so much it went for two in half hours. That night every kid got a chance to perform multiple solos and some kids sound like professional performers. This particular concert had some of the local music professor which invited some the kids to their jazz summer camp free of charge. The whole was amazing to see your men and women below the age of 15 that love the art of music; this program has done wonders for my son and the other kids.
Richmond Youth Jazz Guild had received an invite to perform with Wynton Marsalis and open up for his concert at Christopher Newport College. This night was so incredible for the kids; there were sparking all night. It was like Christmas time all over again; Mr. Marsalis took two hours before the concert to speak to each child and listen; Mr. Marsalis did sound check to help the children understand the procedures and what to look for during sound checks. He gave each child pointers on what the instrument should sound like and how to improve their sound. One of the highlights of the evening was that the Jazz Guild performed right before Mr. Marsalis and he played a couple of sets with them to help them feel comfortable. Most of the children had not played in front such a large audience like that before, so they were a little nervous. At the end of their sessions the crowd went wild and demanded more songs which were great for their confidence. At the end of the night Mr. Marsalis brought the children back out and introduce them one by one and let them do another solo. All the money in the world could not replace that evening for my son and I; we still talk about that evening today.
Richmond Jazz Guild had another concert later that year when they had an opportunity to meet and play for Quincy Jones. This event took place at one of the Richmond downtown theaters; most of the children had heard of Mr. Jones but really did not know his back ground. Mr. Jones talked to them before the concert for about one hour, telling them about all the people he works with over the years. Mr. Jones gave the kids pointers on how to compose music and write music, he gave them business cards, web sites and photo opportunities. Mr. Jones was very easy to talk and gave each personal time; each child asks their question and Mr. Jones asks them some question. I will use one of the commercial quote “priceless”, the evening was priceless because who they got to talk too and no one can take that away.
The last concert was probably the biggest and best concert night of the year before I left for Afghanistan. This concert plus meet and greet was for former President Clinton; all the kids were so excited they could barely contain themselves. They sat with President Clinton before the concert for about one hour and just had general conversion that concluded with photos. The Wynton Marsalis concert had acutely prepared them for this big night. They had to wear black tuxedo with all the fixings; the tuxedo and nerves made this evening a little more difficult. Overall, the concert was a great evening and night they will never forget for the rest of their lives.
This concert year for Richmond Youth Jazz Guild was the best for the children; they learned so much by just meet these people, nothing they could ever learn in class room or camp. The impact of meet such high profile personal just makes you want to do better in every way and improve on your life. So once again “Priceless”, that is the only word I can find to describe for the Richmond Youth Jazz Guild kids.

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