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Evening Chronicle: Gateshead International Jazz Festival

Posted on 4 April 2011

Children sample Gateshead’s Jazz Festival

Linda Richards, Evening Chronicle

CHILDREN got in on the act when jazz came to Tyneside at the weekend.

Members of the Early Years Club boogied on down to Sage Gateshead for a musical treat.

They got a taste of jazz with the help of musicians attending the seventh annual Gateshead International Jazz Festival.

Since Friday, a host of star performers gathered for one of the most important dates in the jazz calendar.

Under-fives got into the spirit of it at a fun workshop on Saturday morning by trying out instruments and getting their tongues around beat boxing.

Debbie Harry, the Jazz Passengers and Northern Sinfonia kick-started the festival on Friday. The Blondie frontwoman, who belted out some powerful vocals, was one of the star attractions of a stellar line-up.

Award-winning musicians and exciting special guests got the crowds going, there was music-making opportunities for all ages, including a master class for budding musicians and free performances on the Sage Concourse.

Over the weekend, there was a range of workshops in which audience members could participate.

From Early Years Goes Jazzy to free talks from conductors and musicians, there was something for everyone.

Early Years Goes Jazzy was a special version of the Sage’s regular Early Years classes – small groups where specialist musicians engage under-fives and five to seven-year-olds in creative singing, movement and music making.

Guest jazz musicians Napoleon Maddox and Roy Nathanson – both appearing on the bill at this year’s festival – led the sessions.

Beatboxer Napoleon Maddox has travelled from America especially for the festival, and Raymond MacDonald, a saxophonist and leader of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, performed on Sunday night.

The children joined in with the live jazz music provided by both performers.

Ros Rigby, the Sage’s performance programme director, said: “For every festival we choose a very special jazz guest for these Early Years sessions. This year we thought beatboxer Napoleon Maddox would provide something really different. Also taking part was saxophonist Raymond MacDonald, who specializes in free jazz which the children have loved.”

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