Our involvement with the community extends beyond the popular concerts that we present. One of the key elements of the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival are Jazz in the Schools, which last year sent the Pittsfield Sister City Jazz Ambassadors to Lee Middle and High Schools, Kittredge Elementary School (Hinsdale), Becket/Washington Elementary School (Becket), Greylock Elementary School (North Adams), Sullivan Elementary School (North Adams), Mt. Greylock Regional High School (Williamstown), Brayton Elementary School (North Adams) where they gave lessons on jazz history and the fundamentals of jazz music.
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Art teachers engaged in the project were coordinator Colleen Quinn, Pittsfield High School; Lisa Ostellino and Barbara Patton, PHS; Marybeth Eldridge, Taconic H.S.; Dale Zola, St. Joseph’s H.S.; Ellie Kreischer and Sophie Lee from Miss Hall’s. Judges were Bill Cormier, of Cormier Art Gallery, and Ken Green of Museum Facsimiles. Project coordinator is Art Niedeck, a Jazz musician and music educator, and chairman of the Education Committee of Berkshires Jazz, Inc. In addition to a cash prize, each of the first three works was framed by Museum Facsimiles, courtesy of Ken Green.
One aspect of the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival that has drawn significant local attention over the past two years is the Student Art Contest. This year, there were 56 entries from all four public and private high schools in Pittsfield. Here are the winners:
- First place: Joleigh Ferro (St. Joseph’s)
- Second place: Jae Hyun Seo (St. Joseph’s)
- Third place: Tae Kyung Jeon (Miss Hall’s).
There were five honorable mentions. From Pittsfield High School: Paola Pinero, Kyle Muzzy, and Connor Murphy; and, from St. Joseph’s High School: Martha Horton and Breanne Reilly. The teachers of these talented students are Colleen Quinn, Pittsfield High School; Marybeth Eldridge, Taconic High School; Dale Zola, St Joseph’s High School; and Ellen Joffe-Halpern, Miss Hall’s.
Judges for the contest were Grier Horner, Ann Pasko, Craig Langlois, and Mark Tomasi. The student art contest was coordinated by Art Niedeck, chair of the Education Committee of Berkshires Jazz, and Colleen Quinn. Joleigh Ferro’s winning entry, which will be posted soon, will become the visual symbol of this year’s Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, and will be seen on the festival’s poster, web site, advertising, and program cover.