Eagle County students swing with Jazz Goes to School

By Vail Jazz

VAIL — Jazz Goes to School, Vail Jazz Foundation’s jazz education program for fourth- and fifth-graders, returns to Eagle County schools Tuesday through Friday, Jan. 23. The program features a quintet of professional musician educators who travel to 16 local elementary schools to share their love of jazz and American history, and inspire young people to embrace jazz: America’s original art form.

While September’s Session 1 focused on the origins of jazz and the rhythm section with handmade bongos and drums, this second session of the four-part program adds in the horn section.

“We want to introduce the kids to the heart of jazz; the cool combination of drums, piano and bass forms the core of all jazz music,” said program director Tony Gulizia. “Now we add in the saxophone and trumpet to create a clean cool sound they love.”

Later in the Jazz Goes to School curriculum, the older students try their hand at writing their own jazz music. The final concert in May at the Vilar Performing Arts Center includes blues compositions created by the fifth-graders, performed in an exciting medley format.


Gulizia is not the only one who appreciates how Jazz Goes to School makes a difference for local kids. Vail Resorts Epic Promise, the company’s philanthropy program, has identified Jazz Goes to School as a necessary and valuable way to help bring the arts into our schools.”

Vail Resorts supports Jazz Goes to School as an incredibly important program that teaches the wonders of jazz to the children of Eagle County,” said Nicky DeFord, manager of charitable giving for Vail Resorts.

Additionally, Alpine Bank’s grant to Vail Jazz provides funds to bring the accomplished jazz instructors into all elementary schools in the region.

“We encourage parents of fourth- and fifth-graders to attend their children’s programs to share their enthusiasm for what they’re learning. Their love for the program can be really infectious,” said Robin Litt, executive director of Vail Jazz.

Gulizia (keyboard and vocals) directs the Jazz Goes to School program for Vail Jazz. Gulizia is joined by his brother Joey, who is also a professional jazz musician and educator, on drums. Other musician educators performing this week include Andy Hall (bass), Roger Neumann (saxophone) and Mike Gurciullo (trumpet).


Jazz Goes to School, which is in its 16th year, supports and promotes the jazz art form with a focus on educating young musicians and young audiences. Jazz Goes to School is presented to Eagle County fourth- and fifth-graders, including all public schools plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, Vail Christian Academy, Stone Creek Elementary Schools and St. Clare of Assisi. Jazz Goes to School reaches over 1,100 students each year and has exposed more than 15,000 students to the course about this uniquely American art form. To learn more, visit www.vailjazz.org.