Our Jazz Education Program
The cornerstone of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival is its educational programs. Led by Les DeMerle, Artistic Director, the Festival seeks to enrich minds with the sounds, excitement and vitality of jazz. Programs include:
Jazz in the Schools
The purpose of this program is to expose young people to the art of jazz, while motivating more students to pursue jazz as a musical endeavor.
Featuring workshops led by master musicians for grade school, middle school, and high school students, more than 2,000 area students attend this program each year. In 2015, the Festival held workshops at Fernandina Beach Middle School, Fernandina Beach High School, Yulee Middle School. Each year, the Festival’s educational programs culminate in the Amelia Island Jazz Scholarship. This financial award goes to deserving high school musicians who demonstrate strong potential to perform jazz at the collegiate level.
The Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival Scholarship
This scholarship will be awarded on an annual basis to a graduating high school senior. The scholarship will be used toward college expenses necessary to earn a major or minor in music, preferably in the area of jazz performance or related area. It is the desire of the Jazz Festival Board to help preserve Jazz, this all American art form, by helping young, talented artists who are pursuing their dream of becoming jazz musicians.
For additional information concerning the scholarship please contact the Board of Directors by writing to:
Les DeMerle Amelia Island Jazz Festival
P.O. Box 16684 — Fernandina Beach, FL 32035
Jazz for Seniors
Just as the Festival encourages young performers to pursue careers in jazz, it also offers a rich cultural experience for more mature audiences. Consisting of demonstrations and informative programs at senior centers, over 500 seniors were entertained at last year’s Festival.
This type of participation, including the nearly 1,000 area residents who attended last year’s public performances, clearly demonstrates that people of all ages and backgrounds want to hear and learn about jazz. The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council recognized the importance of the Jazz Festival by awarding generous grants in support of the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 Festivals.
In 2014, Parkwest Gallery recognized the importance in keeping the program active. Their generous grants and continuous support of the Festival helps achieve our mission.
This kind of financial support validates our belief that the Amelia Island Jazz Festival benefits our community, both culturally and economically.