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Thank You For a Great 2016!

Seasons Greetings!

Our dear friends, it is with gratitude and joyous spirits that we wrap up 2016, driving into a new year. But before we share our exciting plans for 2017, let’s fall back to share what’s transpired in the past few months.

Across the pond in London–

Artistic Director, Sheron Wray directed and choreographed the production
Muhammad Ali and Me

The production was originally produced in 2008, and was restaged to tour this year, which coincides with Muhammad Ali’s death in June 2016.
Here is a fun trailer of the production.

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The tour premiered at The Albany, London, 6 – 15 October  | Press performance, 6 October, 7:30pm.

Following the Albany run, Muhammad Ali and Me goes on a nationwide tour of boxing gyms. The tour culminates in North West England in a special tour within-the-tour produced in association with idle women, the Lancashire-based organisation who create contemporary art with women. The tour will go to St Helens, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley playing in boxing gyms, two of which are located in vast abandoned mills. idle women recently hosted a residency for Adebayo onboard the Selina Cooper, their floating arts centre on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal during which she attended a nearby boxing gym, learning Ali’s ‘moves’ from the UK’s only professional female boxing trainer.

Sheron Wray choreographed for a new musical, Something Inside Me So Strong  that opened The Arcola Theatre, September 6-8th.

Uplifting, surprising and witty, Something Inside So Strong is a bold new musical based on the songs of singer, songwriter and poet Labi Siffre.
Check out some of the young cast in rehearsal.

Sheron completed her PhD, confirmed December 8, 2016, from the University of Surrey. Dr Wray’s degree was awarded by the University of Surrey, U.K, with her research  supported by the U.K Arts and Humanities Research Council. The subject of her research was improvisation, manifest as Embodiology – her improvisation-as-performance method. She has already begun disseminating this praxis through the work of JazzXchange, The Martha Graham School and also through interdisciplinary research with UCI medical doctors and business school. Improvisation is a key to making one’s creative tangible in such ways that life can incrementally change and new possibilities can abound. Look out for more Embodiology workshops soon.

Check out this TEDx talk by Sheron Wray.

Back in Orange County–

JazzXchange presented a new work, Sacred Matters, choreographed by Shining Stars co-founder, Irishia Hubbard. The piece was selected to perform in the BlakTina Festival at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on September 15-17th. Check out our first review
Shining Stars
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We are also very excited to announce that JazzXchange has officially adopted Shining Stars as part of our core programming for youth engagement. JazzXchange is cultivating a relationship with the non-profit, OCCTAC with plans to start regular Shining Stars classes at their location in Santa Ana in 2017.

A word from the Shining Stars’ co-founders…

2 years ago myself and partner Nicole Rivor had a vision to create an opportunity for low-income children to enhance their dance training experience. We wanted to ensure that these children had equal opportunities to achieve their dreams in dance and also promote the importance of higher education. With the guidance of Sheron Wray & JazzXchange we have been able to hold two successful summer programs and now we are able to continue sharing our love of dance with this amazing organization. Thank you JazzXchange for adopting us into your organization. We are honored and humbled.”
– Irishia Hubbard, Co-Founder & Artistic Director

 

“I am incredibly excited and honored for Shining Stars to be a part of JazzXchange’s youth outreach program. With JazzXchange’s strong foundation in the community, Shining Stars will have access to more tools and resources that will enable us to continue to empower the underserved youth of Orange County through our dance education programs. Be on the lookout for our upcoming satellite program at OCCTAC in Santa Ana and our annual summer dance program at UC Irvine!”
– Nicole Rivor, Co-Founder & Administrator

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As Shining Stars we engage children to think more deeply and even critically about issues in dance through discussions of body image, improvisation, and the various cultures of dance the world has to offer. We build long-lasting friendships across the community by giving participants a common connection: a love for dance. Our goal is to provide a unique dance experience that challenges children, and positively impacts them physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Coming to You in 2017…

JazzXchange dancer David Lee is choreographing a new piece to be premiered in Spring  2017.

Monthly Music and Dance Workshops with Joey Sellers starting in January. He has several performance events coming up this holiday season and into the new year!

Look forward to our contribution to the nations Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April. We look forward to working with Darina Littleton, Jannet Galdamez, Ron Kobayashi, Joey Sellers and Dylan Romaine. Look out for events at The Packing House, UCI and  Cooks Chapel.

Sheron Wray also attended the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute in July of this year. The purpose of the institute is to give training to the arts related professionals to equip them with tools to enable conversation to develop with the communities where we live, the underserved in particular. The observation was made that there are indeed white communities that are in need and for the larger part they are not being adequately served and this is important because it is in these places where disempowerment occurs that can easily trigger reactionary outcries of inequality.
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Three of JazzXchange’s core leaders will be attending the Urban Bush Women summer program in New York summer of 2017. We invite you to become an honorary Xchange Agent by helping us reach the goal of $10,000 to send Irishia, Nicole and Noelle to New York for this empowering experience.

11885057_10200817939006830_1169640341827181191_nNicole Rivor - Edited13509012_1453311871361351_4343911165122711799_n                              Irishia Hubbard                                 Nicole Rivor                                      Noelle White

501(c)(3)
Tax deductible donations accepted.
Please make checks payable to:
JazzXchange
1007 Gabrielino Dr
Irvine, CA 92617

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BlakTina Festival 2016

Check out a sneak peak of Irishia Hubbard’s “Sacred Matters” performing at the BlakTina Festival next weekend!

Performing next Friday & Saturday at 7:30pm in LA!
Get your tickets at www.bootlegtheater.org
$15 tickets, keyword: “dancer”

sneak peak of @irish_hubb piece "scared matters" performing @blaktinadance next week!

A video posted by JazzXchange (@jazzxchange) on

STUDENT DISCOUNT CODE

We are offering a student discount for our upcoming show Jazz: The House that America Built on June 23rd! You won’t want to miss this opportunity! It’s showing one night only!

Code: STU10IMG_7935

 

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KUCI Wednesday 5-6pm

This upcoming Wednesday from 5-6pm on the radio station KUCI, Artistic Director, Sheron Wray will be interviewed about our upcoming event “Jazz: the House that America Built”. Please tune in to hear more about the programmed show and the non-profit JazzXchange!

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JazzXchange Premiere!

Jazz: The House That America Built

Join us at the Camino Real Playhouse in San Juan Capistrano, CA!

Envision a nation without division; this is – Jazz: The House that America Built. While many people perceive jazz as a 20th century musical phenomena, JazzXchange exists to show audiences how the art of jazz continues to be a space for 21st century innovation; a space where diverse communities come together through art, in the moment, to create anew.

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Get Ticket$ Now!

Learn more about the Camino Real Playhouse

Receive Discounts on Local Dining

One Night Only…

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Jazz is a process of creation which embraces difference melded together through a commitment to swing into time. It has always represented a multitude of nationalities that make up the United States and this JazzXchange performance embodies exactly this. Visibly, artists from different ethnicities create together.

Jazz music and jazz dancing are American inventions; each exists because of the other, embracing uncertainty with dynamism in surprising new ways. JazzXchange brings together six dancers, three musicians and three spoken word artists who combine their talents to create an inspired evening of musical performance. Join us, as we navigate through “Jazz: the House that America Built,” and witness the intimate connections between cross artform dialogue, insightful improvisation, and soulful expression. Led by Artistic Director Sheron Wray, the artists include, Mark W, The Dylan Romaine Trio, Makeda Kumasi and Jamielle Rankin.

 

The program also includes a new work-in-progress from the OC choreographer Leann Alduenda. Leann is delighted to be the newly appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at Santa Ana College and is an adjunct faculty at Chapman University. Leann was the Artistic Director of the Jimmie DeFore Dance Center for 15 years, where she taught technique and performance classes, headed the teen performance company, and co-directed the scholarship program. She is currently still an instructor there and co-directs the faculty choreography showcase “PULSE” each January.

Watch the JazzXchange Trailer! 

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Today in Jazz History

Today in the California, June 7th is one of the days we get to practice and participate in our government. I hope all of you had the chance to exercise your right to vote today. On another note, here are some jazzy notes about what has happened on this particular day regarding jazz music.

 

Guitarist Tal Farlow born 1921 in Greensboro, NC.

Pianist/composer Thelonious Monk records solo album in Paris, 1954.

Trumpeter Miles Davis records Nefertiti with his quintet (Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hanock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, 1967.

If you’re curious for more information regarding jazz history, this is a great source: http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/education/today-jazz-history#jun

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Jazz: the house America built

Mark your calendars for June 23rd! We would love to share our latest works with you.

 

Here are some photos from JamXchange that took place on April 30th.

 

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Responses to the “Transformations Suite”

The Transformations Suite

Composed by Samora Pinderhughes

 

The Transformations Suite is a composition in five movements, combining spoken word

and music. Continuing in the tradition of artists such as Bob Marley, Duke Ellington,

Marvin Gaye, Billie Holiday and Tupac Shakur, the suite paints a musical picture of the

current state of social inequality and injustice in the United States. It connects the

experiences of all members of the African Diaspora both musically and socially,

examining notions of art, oppression, spirituality, resistance, faith and love.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6:30-9:30 pm, Student Center

259 RSVPs through Illuminations Eventbrite Link

 

Student comments (from students enrolled in the Illuminations Colloquium)

 

The time flew by at this event! I didn’t want it to end. The second it started, I felt like

I was transported into another place. The room was filled with so much emotion and

passion. I had to confront my own feeling on this issue. I am glad I went!

I enjoyed Transformations Suite mainly because of the variety of music used, such as

piano, spoken word, vocals, and drums to connect the audience with issues of social

inequality and injustice. With the incorporation of musical instruments of jazz into social

justice issues, I was able to understand these artist’s emotions through their spoken word

and vocals. Rather than listening to a speech about social inequality, I enjoyed the

musical integration in this event. Overall the event was musically soothing and I learned

how art and music can influence social change and also encourage society to step

forward.

 

I was not expecting this event to be anything it turned out to be. This performance of

jazz, spoken word, and singing was very powerful. I appreciated the time that they took

out to perform and prepare for this. It was amazing to hear how many places they

performed at—Julliard and so many others. They played beautifully. The way they

performed was so powerful and amazing. It was very moving and powerful to see how

passionate their music was. The spoken word was what moved me the most. The effect of

the spoken word performed made me feel what she felt. Having gone through the

experience herself, the emotion was powerful.

 

I loved how their performance was in stages, and also how the performance itself was a

transformation. It encouraged the audience to make a transformation. The ending where it

was on us to change was so great because it is true. We can listen, watch powerful

performances, and say so much, but if we do not do act on it then nothing will happen. It

is amazing and sad where this world has come to, but it can change. Thank you for the

amazing performance, Transformations Suite.

 

Personally, I never really liked poetry with music; however, this event has definitely

changed my mind. First of all, I love how everyone so enjoyed this event and I love how

much the musicians, singers, and poets have put their hard work into this performance.

The lyrics were very effective and inspiring in a way that made me enjoy them even

more. I also loved the Q&A that the performers did after. I might actually start to attend

more events like this after this very exciting experience!

 

The entire performance was fabulous, especially “Momentum.” Those shocking yellings

of "Now!" makes the audience automatically clap and encourage them to think about

unequal treatment and other difficulties. Moreover, I liked one part of “History,” the sax

solo especially because it made me clam down.

 

Last night’s performance at the Crystal Cove auditorium was amazing. I was very

impressed by how the music, poetry, and lyrics on the board came together to create a

strong impact. My favorite was the fourth section: Momentum. The performer gets very

emotional when she spoke her lines from her soul. Racism, slavery, poverty, and violence

must not be forgotten, and the time for us to speak the truth and demand justice is now.

I definitely was not expecting such an emotional performance. At the very end the

vocalist was talking about using seduction to draw in the audience before hitting them

with the message they wanted to get across. I felt that in the beginning the music was

inviting. Then the other vocalist did some spoken word poetry that was beautiful and

intense at times. Personally, words in these spoken word pieces did not speak to me, but

the tone and the feelings attached to them did. The jazz music gave this component of

hope for the future, while the spoken word poetry was there to display the issues in our

society today. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of historical audio and video with the live

performance. It was an eye opening experience and I’m glad I attended this performance.

 

I was profoundly impacted by the Transformations Suite performance last night. As a

cultural anthropology major, diversity and cultural awareness has been a passion of mine

for many years. I am ecstatic that an event like this can be brought to campus in order to

educate people about the history and continued impacts of racism. The event represents

the ideals of the Illuminations program: that art can teach, that it is a valuable part of

education and human experience, and should receive more attention. It was stated that the

event was to showcase how art could create social change, and I believe having powerful

spoken words mixed with music provides an emotional venue through which to

understand these difficult topics, and is much more powerful than a lecture or reading

could ever be.  Needless to say, this was not the jazz you listen to in a cafe while you

mindlessly drink coffee. While at the beginning there seemed to be a dissonance in the

music that made it slightly hard to listen to, it would seem that the music was designed

that way in order to reflect the subject matter. Talking about slavery, racism and poverty

is not easy, and as such the music should not always be easy, or pleasant, to hear. Instead,

it forced me to feel, as well as have my mind stimulated, rather than allowing me to tune

out to the sound of pleasant music. I was so moved by the line, “You are everything they

read about but are too afraid to see.” I felt this line encapsulated the current condition of

race talks in our community. We can read about racism and watch news reports on it, but

once people actually try approaching the topic of race there is an extreme amount of

discomfort. Oftentimes, this can lead to a conversation being shut down, which only adds

more tension to the situation. This line serves as a unifying statement, as many target

groups can rally behind this point, acknowledging that they have struggled, and yet

people do not want to hear about it. But instead of allowing ourselves to be shut down,

we must keep speaking through the difficult conversations, pushing for a better

understanding of each other and creating a better world. We have this power, through our

words, through our art, through our actions. Needless to say, I was in tears during this

event. Thank you so much for bringing this performance to UCI.

 

I really enjoyed this Suite because I thought the singers and musicians played with their

hearts. I would like to see more events like this on campus. This was the first time I

attended an event that so clearly portrayed a topic that is relevant today. I loved the

spoken word and the dialogue after.

 

It was my first time attending a musical-based composition that also provides educational

value. The Transformations Suite was an excellent event that aimed to use art to reflect

life, and actually it perfectly did. The jazz music was thoroughly impressive, with spoken

words and songs describing the history. I loved the saxophone because through it, I could

get the idea of what the main points during the section were. During the Transformation,

I sensed through the music a willingness to change. During the Cycles, I sensed puzzling

feelings. During Momentum and Ascension, I felt the enthusiasm and confidence to

change the world. I can understand how the composer wants to convey the messages of

history and revolution. I was so moved by the repeated words “NOW” in the Momentum

section, and I believe that “We got to change.” In all, this event was very meaningful for

its artistic and educational values.

 

So far this event has had the biggest impact on me. I really enjoyed the music, the lyrics,

and how it all tied together to address social injustice. The music was very moving and

the lyrics made me think of different issues within society. It also made me challenge

myself to address the feelings that the music and overall performance made me feel. I

really enjoyed the composition of the event—how it was a performance as well as a time

to address social injustice through lyrics and poetry-like speech. The composer did an

amazing job in creating and building up to the climax to provoke a sense of action against

these injustices, and demonstrating a little of what it can feel like to face these types of

challenges. I also enjoyed the question and answer because we got to meet all the

performers and hear their thoughts of their work and how they feel about it. I really

enjoyed this event, and I am so inspired and taken away by the composer and all the

performers in this presentation.