Hear the history of America through the jazz program


SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Music and technology come together to teach jazz to people around the world.

Augustana University has partnered with the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society to create the Jazz Diversity Project.

The goal is to educate people of all ages, especially middle and high school students, in the history and fundamentals of jazz music.

This music will soon be heard in classrooms around the world thanks to the Jazz Diversity Project.

“It’s the story of America you hear, it’s the story of the African American artists who grew up in New Orleans and this is what makes this music uniquely American,” said Peter Folliard, dean of the School of Music.

Classes were held in person, but with the pandemic they morphed into a virtual platform consisting of three different episodes featuring local musicians.

“It’s that interactive component of a combination of discussion, a combination of performance, and then this analysis of what just happened, tells us about what we just heard,” Folliard said.

The project brought together media and music students.

“I’m really excited about what digital storytelling will look like for a musician and that’s what they’re experiencing now,” Folliard said.

They hope this project will help give jazz music a voice here in South Dakota.

“My grandparents knew all the tunes of Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and things like that. This generation, jazz music is not their popular music, so we are sharing this music with new audiences, ”said Brian Hanegan, Director of Jazz Studies.

“I hope there will be an opportunity for them to see that this is something I can do, I can find my own voice in music that maybe isn’t popular right now, I can pursue and find her story, tell her story and then spread her story and make it mine too, ”Folliard said.

The program is available digitally, at no cost, to anyone in the world.

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