NEW YORK, NY – Sparta High School music students had the opportunity to spend the day with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Last week approximately 40 students, the members of the two high school jazz bands traveled to New York City with band directors Andrew Lopez, Deborah Gianuzzi and student teacher Steve DeLuccio.

Students had a chance to watch the NLCO rehearse from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“It was an amazing experience because we were not in a large performance space,” Lopez said.  “It was a very intimate setting where we were just a few feet away from the band prepare for their weekend performances.”

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The NLCO is comprised of “some of the world’s great jazz musicians,” including the leader Wynton Marsalis, Lopez said.

The members of the advanced band, Blues, Inc!, remained in the rehearsal space for an opportunity to have a two-hour working rehearsal with renown jazz trombonist, composer and educator James Burton III.  While Burton coached the Blues, Inc! musicians on their repertoire he also shared personal stories about his career and gave advice about auditions and even how to deal with performance anxiety, according to Lopez.

Lopez said the first part of the program observing the NLCO was free, part of the Essentially Ellington program.  “The EE program creates educational learning and performance experiences for music students all around the country,” Lopez said.

The afternoon program for Blues, Inc! was paid for by funds raised at the annual Sparta Jazz Fest, according to Lopez.

The 2020 Sparta Jazz Fest is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 beginning at 5 p.m.  “We will be featuring some of the top jazz bands in New Jersey including bands from Sussex, Warren, Union and Middlesex counties,” Lopez said. 

Tickets will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under six. Lopez can be contacted a 973-729-6191x2272 email