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Orange County School of the Arts Master Class with Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis in Orange County

It is not every day that high school students have the opportunity to work with legendary artists of our time. However, 21 students in the Orange County School of the Arts’ (OCSA) Ambassador Jazz Orchestra participated in the once-in-a-lifetime master class with the internationally renowned trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis on Friday, October 7, 2016.

For those not familiar with the nine-time Grammy Award winner, Wynton Marsalis is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 1983 and 1984, he became the first, and only artist to win both classical and jazz Grammys in the same year. The master class is a part of the arts charter school’s Master Artist Series in celebration of its 30th anniversary.

Wynton Marsalis teaching kids at OCSA

The sold-out crowd of more the 425 attendees bubbled with excitement in anticipation for the beginning of the master class. When the curtain rose, the Ambassador Jazz Orchestra opened the master class by performing “Symphony in Riffs” by Benny Carter, as performed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The students delivered an incredible performance of this upbeat song.

Wynton Marsalis at Orange County School of the Arts

When Wynton Marsalis begin critiquing and coaching the students, the band adapted and performed at an even higher level. An engaging artist who is both humble and relatable, Wynton Marsalis took the students to another level of learning through his philosophical and hands-on teaching methods. Each section and soloist had the incredible honor of being individually coached by Wynton Marsalis. In addition to singing examples of how he wanted the music to sound, he would also play it on his trumpet.

Wynton Marsalis at OCSA

In a short hour and 15 minutes, Wynton Marsalis taught the students humility and the ability to self-critique their work – lessons that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Based on the expressions of the students and the audience, you can tell his messages influenced them to strive to become better artists and human beings.

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