Annual Jazz Festival

The Medical Center Nursery School Jazz Festival is a much-anticipated annual event since its inception in 2009 by MCNS music specialist Louise Rogers and MCNS storyteller Susan Milligan. For two weeks each year, the school celebrates jazz music and the artists that help create it.

The Jazz Festival features live performances and jazz-related classroom activities such as recreating the A Train in the dramatic area using boxes, painting jazz canvases, dancing barefoot in the paint as jazz music is playing, or reading stories with a jazzy rhythm. Featured past performers include:

  • Justin Hines, an extraordinary and much loved percussionist who has been an MCNS favorite for many years

  • Max Pollak, the world-renowned tap dancer, whose unique melding of Afro-Cuban music and dance called RumbaTap has been delighting children for the past several years

  • Darmon Meader, the distinguished saxophonist founder of New York Voices, whose trio has been a big hit with the children. Darmon is accompanied by bassist Jennifer Vincent, drummer Jarrett Walser, trumpeter Sharif Clayton, and pianist Mark Kross.

Performances are 30-40 minutes each. The artists stay for a Q & A session and visit each of the three classrooms. With guidance and supervision from the performers and teachers, children are invited to play the various instruments. Children are also invited to jam with the band on simple instruments such as shakers, bells, scarves, kazoos, and drums.

All parents are invited to participate in their child’s classroom during the festival. Many parents read a story, play an instrument, sing, juggle to jazz music, dance with the children, or do an art project. Parents are enthusiastically encouraged to partake in the celebration in any way they feel comfortable.