Wycliffe Gordon has been commissioned by the Jazz Arts Group to create a 90-minute piece of music for ten musicians to tell the story of the King-Lincoln District. Eight Columbus City Schools in the district were invited to participate by helping Mr. Gordon with his research. Their study of their own neighborhood, its past, present, and future, has resulted in the working title for the piece—Beyond the Blackberry Patch.

The project is managed by Jazz Arts Group’s director of Jazz in Schools Judy Shafer. Designed in three stages, the process is being followed by governmental and business community members, the school community, and the arts community. The stages include: research and composition; presentation; and documentation. Mr. Gordon has interacted with eighty teachers at the Jazz Academy and has visited six of the eight schools involved to interact with their students. Much of the research on the past and present periods has been completed and during school year 2010-2011 the focus is on the future. The presentation will take place in early March 2012 at the newly restored Lincoln Theatre, the centerpiece of the district.

Beyond the Blackberry Patch is a collaborative project between the Jazz Arts Group’s Jazz in Schools program and the Columbus City Schools, with financial support from The Smoot Group.

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