Dr. Phillips Center Welcomed 15,000 Middle Schoolers For 6th & Jazz Program 

- OCPS 6th graders attended an educational program aimed to expose students to the various forms of jazz, its icons and the contributions it has made to popular music today -

Nolan Williams

ORLANDO – Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts education program, 6th & Jazz, returned to in-person performances in Walt Disney Theater this week. Fifteen thousand 6th graders from Orange County Public Schools attended the interactive jazz history and influences program and were introduced to the works of jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and more. This marked the sixth year of 6th & Jazz presented by the arts center, and this year’s program, in collaboration with NEWorks Productions, focused on exposing students to the various forms of jazz as well as how popular jazz standards relate to popular music today.

Co-created by Nolan Williams, Jr., the 55-minute program presented a combination of multimedia and immersive learning experiences and featured performance art from featured tap dancer Leonardo Sandoval, jazz vocalist Michelle Mailhot, jazz dancers Josselyn Baker and Kathy Guryan and jazz choreographer Carrie Crawford.

“The Dr. Phillips Center wants students to take away a few things,” said Nolan Williams, Jr., CEO of NEWorks Production. “The importance of this art form, this genre that may seem foreign; the importance of these giants, these icons and the contributions they have made to popular music as we know it. We also want them to walk away with the confidence that they have the potential to be the next generation of artists and music makers.”

The Dr. Phillips Center brings 6th & Jazz to the Orlando community as another way to create a learning experience that students may or may not have had exposure to otherwise, aligning in its vision of Arts For Every Life®.

“Jazz is such a universal art and even though it was established by these young African-Americans in New Orleans in the late 1890s––who were uptown musicians that were searching for new sounds and new approaches to music––what they created and how it has evolved has become so universal. That’s a beautiful thing,” added Nolan Williams, Jr.

To learn more about 6th & Jazz and other education initiatives at the Dr. Phillips Center, visit drphillipscenter.org.