VJC’s 45th Annual Summer Workshop Goes Virtual With Zoom Into Jazz!

The Vermont Jazz Center will celebrate its 45th season by offering an online version of its annual Summer Jazz Workshop from August 9-14, 2020. In the spirit of moving forward, the VJC has developed a structure to share the love of jazz and the wisdom of the faculty as a temporary replacement for its traditional summer jazz workshop in Putney, Vermont. This year’s program features an expanded faculty, a new take on masterclasses, plus two new features: “Hot Topics” and “Zoom Tunes,” as well as a composition course led by Helen Sung as part of our theory curriculum.

Called “Zoom Into Jazz,” 2020’s workshop welcomes a handful of new masterclass instructors on bass (Linda Oh, Genevieve Rose, David Picchi), drums (Clarence Penn, Corey Fonville), piano (Shamie Royston, Maya Keren, Miro Sprague), trumpet (Rachel Therrien, Ray Vega) and saxophone (Felipe Salas) to complement VJC’s stellar faculty (see below for a full list). The masterclasses will focus on different, daily topics – transcribing, comping, improvising, electric or acoustic instruments, note sets, etc. Each teacher will define the parameters of their own offerings.

“Hot Topics” in the evening will be conversations between two faculty members on topics that resonate with our times such as “Gender and Race in Jazz,” “Bird (Charlie Parker) at 100,” and “The Influence of Jazz on Other Cultures (and Vise Versa).” Each evening there also will be an opportunity to play a specified tune for other participants via Zoom and receive commentary.

The structure of the overall program is divided into a two-hour morning and a three-hour evening session with afternoons available for private lessons (for an additional fee) and vocal repertoire sessions.

The Jazz Center is excited to join together once again. Even if we can’t see each other in person, we are delighted to connect with you, our summer jazz family!

In 2020’s Zoom into Jazz, the VJC aims to live up to a quote from community member Owen Neid: “The Summer Jazz Workshop is an experience that will inspire, excite, and occasionally frustrate, all in the hopes of making you the best musician you can be. It was wonderful to be able to learn in such a welcoming environment, surrounded by caring teachers, inspired students, and helpful staff.”

For more information on VJC programs please visit the VJC website at www.vtjazz.org.  For specific questions regarding curriculum and content, email Eugene Uman directly at eugene@vtjazz.org.



Sunday Evening

7:00 – 7:50                  Welcome to the Workshop (community meeting)

Morning Session

9:00 – 9:50 AM           Theory (3 levels) plus Ear Training and Composition

10:00 – 10:50 AM       Master Classes for Instruments and Vocalists


12:00 to 6:00 PM        Private Lessons

1:00 – 2:30                  Singing the Standards

Evening Session         Monday to Thursday

7:00 – 7:50 PM           Hot Topics

8:00 – 10:00 PM         Zoom Tunes

Evening Session         Friday

7:00                             Helen Sung and Marcus McLaurine Concert



Morning Sessions

Theory-related classes (9:00 – 9:50 AM):

(changed order of this line and the next one and added parentheses) (Theory classes include) composition, ear training and rhythm theory.

Participants self-select from the following options:

Rhythm Theory – Brian Shankar Adler, Julian Gerstin

Composition: – Helen Sung

Ear Training –  Michael Zsoldos

Intermediate Theory – Eugene Uman

Advanced Theory – Ray Gallon


Masterclasses (10:00 – 10:50 AM):

Most instruments will have a variety of teachers over the course of the 5-day program

Voice: Sheila Jordan (Monday – Tuesday), Jay Clayton (Wednesday – Friday)

Trumpet: Jason Palmer, Rachel Therrien, Ray Vega

Saxophone: Stacy Dillard, Felipe Salas, Michael Zsoldos

Trombone: John Fedchock, Jen Wharton

Flute: Camille Thurman

Guitar: Freddie Bryant

Piano: Ray Gallon, Maya Keren, Miro Sprague, Helen Sung, Shamie Royston

Bass: Cameron Brown, Linda Mayhan Oh, Marcus McLaurine, David Picchi, Genevieve Rose

Drums: Brian Shankar Adler, Claire Arenius, Corey Fonville, Francisco Mela, Clarence Penn


Afternoon Sessions

Private Lessons by Appointment (12:00 – 6:00 PM)

Costs of private lessons are not included in program fee, prices vary according to instructor.

VJC will coordinate private study with instructors on a case-by-case basis. We encourage participants to take a variety of lessons with instructors, even if they are not of your instrument.


Singers Afternoon Offering:

Singing the Standards – sing with backing tracks using iReal Pro

Two simultaneous sessions:

Monday and Tuesday – Sheila and Jay

Wednesday through Friday – Jay and Camille

From 1:00 – 2:30 Monday through Friday, six singers per session.

Sing along with backing tracks to your favorite standards.


Evening Sessions

Hot Topics (7:00 – 7:50 PM)

Monday, Aug. 10th: Gender, Race and Jazz: a conversation with Marcus McLaurine and Camille Thurman

Tuesday, Aug. 11th: Celebrating Bird’s 100th Birthday: Ray Gallon interviews Sheila Jordan

Wednesday, Aug. 12th: The Music of Other Cultures and its Influence on Jazz: a conversation with Rachel Therrien and Julian Gerstin

Thursday, Aug. 13th: A New Roadmap for Improv: Brian Shankar Adler leads a conduction improv session

Friday, Aug. 14th: Goodbye concert with Helen Sung and Marcus McLaurine

Zoom Tunes (8:00 – 10:00, Monday to Thursday)

Join Franz Robert, Ben Barnett and Malik McLaurine in a Zoom room for our new “tune a day jam.” Each day musicians will play or sing a prescribed tune on Zoom (either solo or with a backing track) and enjoy banter with other members of the community about their performance.

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