Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence

Montavilla Jazz expands jazz education program in 2020

Something extraordinary happens when young people learn about jazz and its influence on American history and culture. Students in Montavilla’s public schools will experience how jazz is woven into the fabric of our day to day lives during a six-week residency with a local jazz artist, special guest presenters, and representatives from Portland’s jazz community.

The Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence program takes students on a journey starting with the forced immigration of African slaves, the mixing of European, African, and indigenous cultures that led to the birth of jazz, through the boom of popular music in America, up to the current day and the continuing influence of jazz on contemporary music.

Supporting local jazz artists is at the core of our mission. Montavilla Jazz pays artists a fair wage to create and perform new music at the annual Montavilla Jazz Festival. In addition, we provide paid opportunities for local jazz artists to build an audience for their work by sharing their passion for jazz with kids in our community’s public schools.

The Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence program gives kids an appreciation for the cultural and historical significance of jazz, and gives local artists an opportunity to develop skills as educators, and meet the next generation of jazz fans.

Vestal is thrilled to have Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence in our school! Jazz is an amazing tool for our students to learn about art and social justice!

Sabrina Flamoe

Principal, Vestal School

Program Outline

Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence, Mary-Sue Tobin guides students through six weeks of jazz appreciation with the assistance of Portland State University Senior Capstone students leading up to the 2019 PDX Jazz Festival.

Jazz in the Schools (PDX Jazz) introduces students to jazz through interactive presentations and hands-on activities designed to demonstrate the influence and impact of jazz on American culture. Following the presentation, students create their own original art, interpreting the music and culture of jazz by utilizing their newfound understanding of the connection between the music and art (supplies provided by U.S. Bank).

The Incredible Journey of Jazz (PDX Jazz) is an interactive program for students of all ages that recounts the history of America’s indigenous musical art form. Students will learn about jazz, its beginnings, development, and current role in global culture. The narrated program features a live jazz band who demonstrate characterizations of historical figures and musical illustrations from different eras and styles. Musical elements explored include rhythm, melody, call-and-response, and counterpoint. Additionally, students learn about the importance of African and immigrant cultures on American life, slavery, civil rights, and the interweaving of music and cultures around the world.

Education Partners

Kids in Program

Meet Montavilla’s Jazz Artist-in-Residence

Mary-Sue Tobin has shared the stage with international jazz and R&B stars such as Dave Douglas, The Temptations, James Moody, and Esperanza Spalding. She has performed with the Oregon Symphony Pops (Pointer Sisters, Johnny Mathis) and played numerous local festivals including PDX Jazz, Mount Hood Jazz, Montavilla Jazz, and Cathedral Park Jazz Festival.

Mary-Sue brings her passion for music and 20 years of experience to her work as music educator. She teaches all levels, from beginners to professionals, offering her knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement to help students achieve their goals. In addition to her performance and education activities, Mary-Sue serves on the PDX Jazz programming committee.

I love how the Montavilla Jazz Artist-in-Residence program includes history and contextualization of the importance and influence of jazz!

Raúl Gómez

Music Director, Metropolitan Youth Symphony

PDX Jazz and Montavilla Jazz Festival have forged a strong collaborative partnership and we are excited to share the world of jazz with Montavilla students

Chris Doss

Executive Director, PDX Jazz