Let’s boogie! High school students from throughout state attend jazz camp at URI July 15 through 20

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KINGSTON, RI – July 16, 2013 – It’s all about jazz on the University of Rhode Island campus this week for high school students from throughout the state attending a jazz camp hosted by the music department.

Seventeen campers, in grades 8 through 12, are participating in master classes, ensemble playing, theory classes and more activities to develop their jazz skills and techniques.

URI music instructors and professional musicians, including the jazz pianist Doug Johnson of Boston, are teaching. The camp will culminate in a public recital by the students at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 20, at the Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Rd., Kingston.

“The goal of the camp is to make students better jazz musicians,” says camp director Jared Sims, a music professor at URI and saxophone player. “Hip hop, reggae and even rock are derived from jazz.”

Campers start the day with a small group session and then break off for master classes that focus on their instruments. This year’s campers are playing the drums, base, guitar, piano, trumpet and sax.

After lunch, students jam together again and take classes in music theory and rhythm and style. Instructors and URI alumni also perform for the students, from South Kingstown, North Kingstown, Portsmouth and other local communities.

“We get a wide range of students,” says Sims, who teaches sax at the camp. “Some feel more comfortable reading music, others feel more comfortable improvising.”

To visit the camp to talk to students and instructors, contact Jared Sims at 401-874-2765 (office) or 617-233-9552 (cell). Sims is co-director of a URI band performing in August at the Newport Jazz Festival.

The band will play a 45-minute set starting at noon Aug. 4 at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. The musicians are URI alumni and current students. To buy tickets online, visit NewportJazzFest.net.

“We’ve already started rehearsing,” says Sims. “To be included in the festival is fantastic.”

Pictured above

High school students attending a jazz camp July 15 through 20 in the Fine Arts Center at the University of Rhode Island. The students will perform at a public recital at 11 a.m. July 20 at the center, 105 Upper College Rd., Kingston.

Photo courtesy of Jared Sims.