Students of the Francis Parker Jazz Workshop study with working professionals

Nathan Collins went through the program... and is already touring with John Fogerty

Francis Parker jazz workshop offer a chance for students to play with some of San Diego’s top jazz musicians.
  • Francis Parker jazz workshop offer a chance for students to play with some of San Diego’s top jazz musicians.
  • Photograph by Darci Fontenot

“It’s an opportunity for students from all over the county to study with some of the top jazz players in San Diego for a whole week to really refine their craft,” says program director Nate Jarrell, speaking of the Francis Parker Jazz Workshop, which opened its registration for the summer program.

Summer Jazz Workshop

“The goal is to offer kids a way to study with working professionals. What the students walk away with probably can’t be mastered in one week but we give them a lot of tools and ideas and music they wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise.”

How long have they been at it?

“We’re going into our 9th year in collaboration with Francis Parker School [in Linda Vista]. They are our main partner, our main sponsor is Jazz 88.3. When the week is over, the students have a concert at the Music Box [Little Italy].”

When does the workshop happen?

“There are two sessions,” says Jarrell. “The first week is for younger, middle school kids. That takes place the week of July 8. We take a week off because of Comic-Con, then the second session, which is for high school kids takes place the week of July 22.”

Who’s is on the faculty?

“We’ve got Leonard Patton teaching voice, Danny Green and Melonie Grinnell teaching piano, Justin Grinnell doing the bass, Ian Tordella on saxophone, Derek Cannon on trumpet, Jordan Morita on trombone, Tommy Collins on guitar and Richard Sellers will be teaching the drums this year.”

What can students expect?

“On a typical day, each kid will play in one of several small combos, based on the instrument they play. The combos rehearse twice a day under the tutelage of two faculty members who direct their group. Every day we have different clinics with specific topics like rhythm or improvisations etc. Each student gets individual instruction on their instrument and we have guest musicians that we bring in as well.”

Success stories?

Nathan Collins went through the program. He’s finishing up at USC and already touring with John Fogerty. Vocalist/trombonist Lizzi Trumbore is another one. She’s just finishing up at North Texas State. Sahara Grim is a great musician who ended up at UCLA.”

What kind of money is required?

“The first session will cost $725 to attend, and the advanced level runs $875. We do have scholarships available – there are some half-scholarships available based on playing ability—and some full scholarships available based on financial need. Students can contact me about that.”

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