In October, Chilean-born saxophonist Melissa Aldana comes to MSU as the first of a lineup of jazz musicians in this year's MSUFCU Jazz Artist in Residence program.
The program is the result of a partnership between the MSU College of Music and the MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU). With the support of a $1 million endowment by MSUFCU, the goal of keeping artists in residency is to help continue education in jazz music at the university and in the surrounding communities through workshops and performances.
“The Artist in Residence program has been several years in existence and every one of them is really rewarding for our students because they get to interface with folks who are really at the forefront of this music,” Diego Rivera, associate director of MSU Jazz Studies, said.
Melissa Aldana is one of two visiting artists in the fall and one of four total artists over 2018-19. She'll spend the week of Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 in residence with MSU Jazz Studies.
During her stay, she'll visit local high schools and perform alongside MSU's Jazz Orchestras on at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5 at Fairchild Theatre.
“She’s at the forefront of a growing trend, or a growing initiative in music of increased diversity, increased representation by women in our art form, which is something that is not only well deserved, but also long overdue,” Rivera said. “It’s important for the young women in our program to have those figures to look up to, to inspire and really connect with and I think Melissa appeals to all of our students on a number of levels.”
In addition to Aldana, MSU brings artists Mark Whitfield, Mimi Jones and Steve Davis for weeklong residencies over the course of 2018-19.
“Normally you would have to go to New York City or Detroit or Chicago to be able to hear artists of this caliber, but this program has been able to bring those sort of cities here to East Lansing," Rivera said. "It’s a real benefit for the community."
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