(In December 2013 the GRAMMY Foundation announced the 32 high school students selected to join the 2014 GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session. The students have traveled to Los Angeles for a weeklong musical adventure that includes performances at various GRAMMY Week events, including an appearance at GRAMMY In The Schools Live! on Jan. 22, and the recording of an album at Capitol Studios & Mastering in Hollywood, Calif. To provide an insider's perspective on this unique opportunity, 2014 Jazz Session drummer Cameron MacIntosh will share his GRAMMY Week experience.)
Last night's GRAMMY In The Schools Live! event was incredible to say the least. The concert followed an afternoon performance in the same venue at USC during GRAMMY Camp — Basic Training, during which members of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session combo, choir and band performed in front of hundreds of high school musicians from the Los Angeles area. For both myself and everyone in the group, it was great to share our music as well as all of the tedious work that has gone into the prepping it with an enthusiastic young audience. Maybe in the coming year some of the young musicians we shared our knowledge with will end up on that stage as well!
After playing for fellow students, the band took part in GRAMMY In The Schools Live! As a young and aspiring jazz musician, it was fantastic to have the opportunity to play for a large audience that truly appreciated us. Many of the attendees that evening were there for the special guest artist — GRAMMY-nominated band Vampire Weekend. Despite the drastic difference in music we presented, the mostly young crowd really seemed to enjoy our playing. Of course, Vampire Weekend delivered a wonderful show following ours, and the entire concert really reflected the message of the event: a celebration of music education.
It goes without saying that this unique and wonderful opportunity would not be possible without the people at the GRAMMY Foundation and all those involved who have devoted their lives to inspiring and cultivating such a significant part of ours.
(Cameron MacIntosh is a 17-year-old senior at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., where he is a member of the jazz and wind ensembles. MacIntosh also attends the the Precollege Division of Manhattan School of Music and performs in their top combo and big band. MacIntosh is also the drummer for the Montclair, N.J.-based Jazz House Kids big band, with whom he won the 2012 Charles Mingus High School Competition in New York where he was the recipient of the Outstanding Soloist Award. In 2013 the Jazz House Kids won the best rhythm section award at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where the band placed second overall nationally.)