In Community

MSU College of Music Performance at Beacon Hill

The Gift of Music

This fall, thanks to the Michigan State University College of Music, Beacon Hill was privileged to host two extraordinarily talented groups of jazz artists who shared their musical artistry with our residents. Both groups are part of the “Jazz Artist in Residence” program made possible through a generous endowment from the MSU Federal Credit Union.

Launched in 2013, the pioneering residency program imports high-level talent to spend a week mentoring MSU jazz studies students and K-12 students at schools and academies across the state. Coordinated by the MSU College of Music, the program follows the jazz tradition of established musicians passing on their knowledge to aspiring musicians, while enriching often resource-strapped jazz programs in urban and rural communities.

Pianist Renee Rosnes, who entertained an audience of rapt Beacon Hill residents, was the first of the four scheduled jazz artists coming to MSU for weeklong residencies. Rosnes has toured and recorded with jazz masters and was a charter member of the all-star ensemble, the San Francisco-based SFJAZZ Collective, for six years. She has released 17 recordings and has appeared as an accompanying performer with other well-known groups. Rosnes is also a formidable composer, as well as a concert producer and art director at renowned venues.

According to Xavier Davis, associate professor of jazz piano at MSU College of Music, “she’s a fantastic mentor and her portfolio of experience touring with jazz masters and collaborating with established and rising artists is an ideal match for our program.”

The second group to delight Beacon Hill residents with their incredible musical talent was the Quartet Samod, a saxophone ensemble consisting of graduate students from MSU. While this group is relatively young, its members have already been recognized in a number of national competitions including the North American Saxophone Alliance, the Music Teachers National Association, as well as other local and regional competitions.

The MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program represents the largest-ever investment in the College’s jazz program and provides one-on-one instruction, collaboration and performance opportunities with some of the world’s best jazz musicians. In a typical year, artists in residence travel with MSU’s jazz ensembles to give up to 20 performances across the state in support of jazz programs at non-profit organizations and at middle and high schools.

How exceedingly fortunate and blessed we are here at Beacon Hill to be included among the other lucky schools and organizations who could witness and enjoy the remarkable performances of these gifted musicians.

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