Valencia Students Wowed at Jazz Convention

A Message from Stacey Johnson, President, East and Winter Park Campuses

Two Valencia students and Adjunct Professor of Music Michelle Mailhot, recently attended the annual Jazz Education Network convention in Dallas, Texas. The event, held from Wednesday, January 3 to Saturday, January 6, 2018, allowed Michelle to perform with colleagues from the Berklee Conservatory of Music as well as to adjudicate the “Jenerations Jazz Festival.” She was thrilled to share this experience with two Valencia students.

The convention was attended by jazz luminaries and educators, as well as hundreds of high school and college students. It’s an event where students connect with their idols and learn about other colleges to which they could transfer and get a four-year degree. Jam sessions are a feature of the event every night, and students are allowed to perform with each other. “It was a complete Jazz Hang,” said Michelle.

Valencia students Andrew Kennedy, a saxophone player, and Hunter Allison, a drummer, attended the event with Michelle. The three also ran into Sebastian Dones, a Valencia graduate, who is now a jazz studies major at the University of North Texas.

“This conference gave me the opportunity to meet some of my biggest influences and heroes in jazz,” Andrew shared, “and I can safely say my entire perspective of music is changed because of it.”

The students met many star musicians including Branford Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, John Clayton and Jeff Coffin.

“It was such a joy for me to see these students’ faces on the first day as literal superstars of the jazz genre walked by,” Michelle said. “It was a tremendous mentoring opportunity that I know changed these students’ lives forever.”

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