Dear Friend of Oaktown Jazz Workshops,
Thank you for supporting community-based jazz education in Oakland. As Oaktown Jazz Workshops (OJW) enters our 24th year, we continue to thrive – offering high quality music instruction to youth from across the San Francisco Bay Area. We are especially proud of our outstanding alumni who apply the collaborative skills gained through our program to positively engage in their communities and pursue meaningful careers. Over the past year, many of our alumni, now working as professional musicians, have returned to Oaktown Jazz to lead captivating concerts and make time to teach young musicians currently in our program.
With the shocking political climate and disheartening tone of today’s news, OJW’s programs are needed now more than ever. We put youth first, and our priority is making sure that young people have a safe space where their potential can be recognized and fostered.
OJW’s twice weekly, year-round Performance Ensemble workshops and recently added Jazz Improvisation class provide young musicians a supportive environment where they are mentored by a small group of instructors dedicated to helping youth develop their talents.
Our Founding Director, Khalil Shaheed, created OJW to pass down the language of jazz through the historically traditional method of mentorship, access to live concerts, and performance opportunities. In 2017, in addition to our 140 workshops, we presented 10 family friendly concerts and 20 OJW Youth Ensemble concerts, offered jazz encounter clinics with artists such as John Santos and The Lionel Hampton Big Band featuring Jason Marsalis, and held 47 music sectionals and presentations in East Bay public middle schools.
Five years ago we launched the Khalil Shaheed Scholarship Fund to cover the cost of our workshops for young musicians whose families could not otherwise afford tuition. This fund has been absolutely critical in supporting local young people seeking opportunities for creative expression and artistic development. At this time, your contribution to Oaktown Jazz Workshops will allow us to continue to serve as a vibrant local community asset.
Your support, in whatever amount you can manage, will encourage our children’s creativity, elevate music education and appreciation, and enrich our community.