Scenes from the All-Rhythm Jazz Big Band in Poe Theater.

On Friday afternoon rumor had it that there was something pretty great happening in the band room under Poe Theatre. Since for me any day that includes music is a great day, I jumped at the invitation to tag along with Jenny Mayher and we headed down the hill to check it out.

Often when administrators enter classes, things go quiet, much to the dismay of those of us who want to experience an authentic classroom, but there was none of that when I walked into Big Band Jazz on Friday. Sound rumbled through the room from a wide array of instruments and socially-distanced musicians, creating a rich fabric of song. Keyboard, an upright piano, electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and even a stand-up bass were all reverberating together in an upbeat melody.

Many of the students were playing instruments brand new to them as part of the brainchild of our own Liz Matta and Emily Anderson, who have created an “All-Rhythm Jazz Band” to keep students jamming at a moment when wind instruments and singing are challenged by safety protocols. Just the pure joy of seeing and hearing these young people jam with professional musicians, themselves LA alumni, was a gift that sent me into the weekend with a smile on my face. As I reflected on this interaction, I appreciated the skill, passion, and creativity our teachers continue to inject into the difficult task of educating students in this pandemic.

Today is our pandemic anniversary–it was one year ago that we closed the LA campus to help keep the community safe. I feel blessed to be among such incredible educators. Today my hat is off to all of them for their professionalism and dedication to Lincoln Academy. Thanks for all that you do each and every day.

Be well and stay safe.

Jeffrey S. Burroughs