In Ears ‘n’ Eyes Creativity Workshop travels to Applewild School

The IENE Creativity Workshop was hired to perform, teach and inspire at the Applewild School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts March 3, 4 and 5th, 2015. Six of our personnel worked with 217 students from grades 4 – 8 and rubbed elbows K – 3, the youngest of Applewild’s budding musicians, artists and scholars. On Tuesday at 11am  we unloaded and set up for our opening performance before the entire student body and faculty. Our set list was carefully chosen and crafted to reflect the school’s focus on the Harlem Renaissance. Included in our performance were Duke Ellington’s composition Jump for Joy, the title song from his musical of the same name (1939), Langston Hughes’ poem Dig and Be Dug, the gritty and poigniant poem Satchmo by Melvin B. Tolson, and the traditional Negro spiritual Motherless Child.

Dig and Be Dug

Applewild sixth graders were split into two groups; musicians and artists, to be taught to create conversations between jazz and expressionist painting.

Applewild sixth graders were split into two groups; musicians and artists, to be taught to create conversations between jazz and expressionist painting.

“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That’s the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
is
Dig and be dug
In return.”

                                by Langston Huges

Satchmo

BY MELVIN B. TOLSON

King Oliver of New Orleans

has kicked the bucket, but he left behind
old Satchmo with his red-hot horn
to syncopate the heart and mind.
The honky-tonks in Storyville
have turned to ashes, have turned to dust,
but old Satchmo is still around
like Uncle Sam’s IN GOD WE TRUST.

Where, oh, where is Bessie Smith,
with her heart as big as the blues of truth?
Where, oh, where is Mister Jelly Roll,
with his Cadillac and diamond tooth?
Where, oh, where is Papa Handy
With his blue notes a-dragging from bar to bar?
Where, oh where is bulletproof Leadbelly
with his tall tales and 12-string guitar?

Old Hip Cats,
when you sang and played the blues
the night Satchmo was born,
did you know hypodermic needles in Rome
couldn’t hoodoo him away from his horn?
Wyatt Earp’s legend, John Henry’s, too,
is a dare and a bet to old Satchmo
when his groovy blues put headlines in the news
from the Gold Coast to cold Moscow.

IMG_3228

Some of Applewild School’s older set jammed to the blues while their classmates painted up some masterpieces in Visual Jazz

Old Satchmo’s
gravelly voice and tapping foot and crazy notes
set my soul on fire.
If I climbed
the seventy-seven steps of the Seventh
Heaven, Satchmo’s high C would carry me higher!
Are you hip to this, Harlem? Are you hip?
On Judgment Day, Gabriel will say
after he blows his horn:
“I’d be the greatest trumpeter in the Universe
if old Satchmo had never been born!”

 

Applewild's forth grade improvised painted duets while  IENE personnel classmates improvised tunes on their flutophones

Applewild’s forth grade improvised painted duets while IENE personnel classmates improvised tunes on their recorders

An Applewild collaborative student painting masterpiece!

An Applewild collaborative student painting masterpiece!