Center for arts reaches out to youth through jam |

Center for arts reaches out to youth through jam

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The Center for the Arts will launch Community Music Jam Monday. The free open-session mentorship program offers 10 weekly sessions from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Monday, when local professional musician mentors will guide participants in playing keyboards, guitars, percussion and vocals. Ages 16 and up are invited to join in to learn a new song each week and play on stage in a live band setting with other players and singers. Each session features a different “classic old school” song (country, blues, rock, folk, pop, etc.), which will be learned and played together as a group with rhythm parts, solos, vocals, etc. Music equipment and some instruments will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own instrument if they have one. These fun and interactive sessions are for people who have at least a basic knowledge of their instrument.

The Center’s primary goal is to build community through the arts, and it will be partnering with Nevada County agencies, local schools and other nonprofit organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bitney Prep High School, Gold Country Community Center, Hospitality House and NEO, to recommend eligible participants for the program.

Community Music Jam is for anyone who has played in a band (or wanted to), taken lessons, learned an instrument, participated in choir, “jammed” with other musicians, participated in an open mic or karaoke setting but due to current circumstances does not have access to pursue these endeavors. It is not an instructional program to teach people to play an instrument but rather the chance to be a better musician, to experience the joy of playing and making music with a group, to develop a new social network with like-minded folks, hang out with pros and just have a good time!

Leading these structured “jam sessions” as program mentors is a team of local professional musicians, including Lorraine Gervais (program coordinator), Kelly Fleming, Tony Unger and Craig Thomas, all of whom have years of professional experience performing both locally and nationally in many different music genres and venues.

Instruments will be provided for use during the sessions and other resources that will enhance participation in the band setting every week. Two 10-week programs with up to 60 participants each will take place for the initial two years. In the first year, sessions will be hosted at The Center, and in the second year, the program will be taken to community centers and other neighborhood facilities.

While the program is partially funded with a grant from the James Irvine Foundation and has secured additional funding from the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation of the Jewish Community Fund and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, they are actively reaching out to potential donors to offset the expenses needed to fill the balance of $30,000 to bring this program to the community. If you are interested is supporting Community Music Jam, contact Julie Baker at

If you are an organization that serves those qualifying for Community Music Jam and are interested in becoming one of our partner agencies, contact The Center for marketing materials and registration forms to distribute to eligible participants. If you would like to participate in the program, contact one of the partner agencies for a recommendation and application.

For information, visit http://the The Center is located at 314 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.

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