Thursday, May 19, 2011

MCC-Penn Valley to serve as home to KC Youth Jazz

For 10 years, Kansas City Youth Jazz has preserved the city's rich jazz legacy by offering music instruction and technique to area youth. The organization will call MCC-Penn Valley home effective June 1, thanks to Penn Valley Music Instructor Clarence Smith. Smith will also assume the role of musical director of KCYJ -  following in the footsteps of renowned jazz educator, Leon A. Brady.

“I have revered Mr. Brady since I started teaching 25 years ago,” Smith says. “He is one of Kansas City’s jazz icons; a man who is legendary because of his dedication to kids and desire to keep jazz alive by inspiring the youth of our community. KCYJ is a remarkable program that has impacted the lives of so many young people in Kansas City. It is a privilege to step into a leadership role and carry on the legacy that Mr. Brady started.”

The move to the Penn Valley campus provides KCYJ with a strong ally as the organization continues to grow.

“The majority of our participants attend suburban schools,” Smith explains. “We’d like to attract more students from the urban core, and Penn Valley has programs in place that will help with that effort. At the same time, KCYJ students and parents will learn about Penn Valley and all that MCC offers the community. The collaboration between KCYJ and the college is a win-win for all sides.”

KCYJ’s summer session begins June 4, with a concert scheduled for July 31. That event will include a 10-year anniversary celebration and special recognition of Brady as the organization’s founder.

To learn more about Kansas City Youth Jazz, click here.

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