On Monday 23 March, students at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts were treated to an unusual and impromptu visit from the United Kingdom’s top jive and swing band.
Young teen and Duke Ellington aspiring trumpeter, Jerry, who picked up his trumpet and jumped right in with the band, adding his lyricism to the Jive Aces rendition of “Jump Jive and Wail”, exclaimed that, “It was such an honor to play with the band. This was the best! This event made me decide to play in a big band”.
The performance was nothing less than over the top! From the amazing musical and performance talent of the band featuring colorful solos and extraordinary piano demonstration including handstands and other acrobatics, all while playing, a soulful performance of classic jazz songs by Hollywood actress Makinna Ridgway, all punctuated with the incredible aerial antics of the Tinseltown Jitterbugs. The students were on their feet singing and dancing along fully overtaken by the enthusiasm and exuberance of the moment!
At the close of the event, students, who were picking up their own copies of custom Jive Aces The Way to Happiness booklets, crowded around to get them autographed by the band and the dancers. Others of the kids grabbed their instruments and joined in on an upbeat jam session and pretty soon the young talent of the school were jammin’ away with the runners up of Britain’s Got Talent, who even made Simon Cowell smile!
It was an afternoon to remember!
The whole event was capped with the message: don’t be fooled by the hype, living a drug free life will keep you in the music business a lot longer than giving in to those who might try to convince you otherwise. The best thing to do, if anything or anyone tried to bring you down, the band said, was to flourish and prosper, the 21st precept from the Way to Happiness.
Doctor of Musical Arts and Collaborative Piano and recent addition to the Duke Ellington School staff, Dr. Lester Green, was able to facilitate the impromptu visit with the help of the administration and other faculty, and were especially looking forward to having their students hear the drug free life message.
The Jive Aces are known for their drug education efforts with the Foundation for a Drug Free World and have received numerous awards for it.
Ian Clarkson, lead singer of the Jive Aces said: “I am so happy we had an opportunity to perform to young aspiring musicians, let them know they can reach their dreams and do so without the use of drugs, as all drugs do is destroy careers and lives. It was the perfect place for us to perform at Duke Ellington — he was one of our band’s music inspirations. Makinna and the dancers also loved it and they could really tell the students had such a great time listening to live, uplifting music.”
Lester Green, agreed: “It was a real treat for a Monday to have the Jive Aces come. The students loved it!”
The group will continue their US tour to Hazleton PA, Montreal Canada, Wilmington DE and Garden City NY. The band, who also had a hit on Youtube with over 2.5 million views for their music video, Bring Me Sunshine (www.jiveaces.com/sunshine) is about to release a new album in May-June, called “Spread a Little Happiness”.
For more info about the Jive Aces visit their website: www.jiveaces.com.
The Way to Happiness is a common sense moral code written by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, which crosses all creeds, faiths and political beliefs, and includes a precept on temperance, supporting the message for a drug free life. Other examples include: don’t do anything illegal, be competent, be industrious and honor and help your parents. For more information about The Way to Happiness, please see www.thewaytohappiness.org.
The Foundation for a Drug Free World is an international nonprofit public benefit corporation that empowers youth and adults with factual information about drugs so they can make informed decisions and live drug-free. For more information about The Foundation, please see www.drugfreeworld.org .