Dr. Phillips Center Welcomed 15,000 Middle Schoolers For 6th & Jazz Program

In addition to debuting their new works in The Z's state-of-the-art facilities with full tech support, performers will receive a share of the ticket sales.

By: Feb. 24, 2023
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Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts education program, 6th & Jazz, returned to in-person performances in Walt Disney Theater this week. Fifteen thousand 6th graders from Orange County Public Schools attended the interactive jazz history and influences program and were introduced to the works of jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and more. This marked the sixth year of 6th & Jazz presented by the arts center, and this year's program, in collaboration with NEWorks Productions, focused on exposing students to the various forms of jazz as well as how popular jazz standards relate to popular music today.

Co-created by Nolan Williams, Jr., the 55-minute program presented a combination of multimedia and immersive learning experiences and featured performance art from featured tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval, jazz vocalist Michelle Mailhot, jazz dancers Josselyn Baker and Kathy Guryan and jazz choreographer Carrie Crawford.

"The Dr. Phillips Center wants students to take away a few things," said Nolan Williams, Jr., CEO of NEWorks Production. "The importance of this art form, this genre that may seem foreign; the importance of these giants, these icons and the contributions they have made to popular music as we know it. We also want them to walk away with the confidence that they have the potential to be the next generation of artists and music makers."

The Dr. Phillips Center brings 6th & Jazz to the Orlando community as another way to create a learning experience that students may or may not have had exposure to otherwise, aligning in its vision of Arts For Every Life.

"Jazz is such a universal art and even though it was established by these young African-Americans in New Orleans in the late 1890s--who were uptown musicians that were searching for new sounds and new approaches to music--what they created and how it has evolved has become so universal. That's a beautiful thing," added Nolan Williams, Jr.

To learn more about 6th & Jazz and other education initiatives at the Dr. Phillips Center, visit drphillipscenter.org.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in downtown Orlando supported by the City of Orlando, Orange County, the City of Winter Park, the State of Florida and generous donors and sponsors. The 698,312-square-foot venue includes the grand 2,711-seat Walt Disney Theater, the community-theater style 296-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, the new adaptable 1,464-1,770-seat Steinmetz Hall and, opening in 2023, the dynamic cabaret-style music room Judson's. In addition, the venue has various versatile event spaces like the DeVos Family Room, the Rooftop Terrace and the 3-acre outdoor Seneff Arts Plaza. In addition, the arts center's AdventHealth School of Arts offers classes, camps and pre-professional productions. For more information, visit drphillipscenter.org.