CHATHAM, NJ -The annual Jazz in the Middle festival of middle school jazz bands will be held Thursday, April 23, in the Chatham Middle School auditorium.

Now in its sixth year, Jazz in the Middle was the creation of CMS music teacher Christie Spriggs, who sought to provide quality performance/adjudication opportunities for middle school jazz bands.  Spriggs traditionally selects April as the festival month, which is known as "Jazz Appreciation Month” (JAM) in the national community of Music Educators.

Jazz Appreciation Month was created in 2001 by Smithsonian National Museum curator Dr. John Hasse as an annual event that pays tribute to jazz as both a living and historically unique American musical art form. Music educators across the country have embraced ‘JAM’ with events ranging from free concerts to educational programs. 

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New to this year’s festival will be an exhibition performance of the Chatham High School Jazz 
Band, under the direction of CHS Band Director Brian Conti, which will perform a mix of 
jazz classics and standards to kick off the event. Conti will also serve as a festival adjudicator 
with Vincent Turturiello, director of the award-winning Scotch Plain High School Jazz Band, the Moonglowers.

 
Conti and Turturiello will be providing the middle school groups with valuable feedback from the high school director’s perspective, offering middle school players advice for developing individual and ensemble playing skills – while encouraging their continued participation in high school jazz programs. Turturiello will lead the Moonglowers in an exciting exhibition performance to finish off the evening. 
 
Supported by Elefante Music of New Providence and the Chatham Music and Theater Boosters, 
the evening offers food and entertainment, representatives from Selmer-USA Instruments, reed 
manufacturer Rico, and an on-site instrument repair demonstration courtesy of Elefante Music.  
 
Doors will open at 4:15 p.m. General admission is $3.00. All proceeds will benefit the district Performing Arts programs.
 
Performance schedule:
 
4:30- Chatham High School Jazz Band (exhibition)
 
5:00- Nutley MS Jazz Band
 
5:30- Montgomery MS Jazz Band
 
6:00- Lopatcong MS Jazz Band
 
6:30- Chatham Middle School Jazz Band (host band)
 
7:00- Alexandria MS Jazz Band (Pittstown, NJ)
 
7:30- Bernardsville MS Jazz Band
 
8:00- Bridgewater-Raritan MS Jazz Band
 
8:30- Scotch Plains MS Jazz Band
 
9:00- Scotch Plains High School Jazz Band "The Moonglowers" (exhibition)
 
9:30- Awards Presentation