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Creative Music Center Jazz Camp Inspired by Local Parents



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MONROE — With a nod to Don McClean’s “day the music died,” local parents have come together with Creative Music Center to ensure music is alive and vibrant this summer as COVID restrictions ease. Led by Newtown resident Natalie Cowley, the parents and Creative Music’s Barb Masuk worked together to create a jazz camp that will culminate with a public performance on Friday, July 30.

Cowley and the parents of other area student musicians had hoped to enable artistic expression for their kids following the struggle of pandemic shutdowns.

“So many of us have had to shelter during the pandemic,” said Cowley. “Our kids have been incredibly eager to return to playing live music together. Before the pandemic, they were jamming at each other’s houses, and loving it. I am thrilled that Creative Music was willing to create a program to harness that enthusiasm!”

The idea was hatched by Crowley and fellow parents and brought to Masuk as Connecticut’s restrictions began to ease. Masuk sparked to the idea immediately and set the wheels in motion by contacting Creative Music staff teacher and jazz professional Anthony Pellegrini. The latter enthusiastically took on the challenge of creating a summer curriculum that was ambitious — and safe, per CDC guidelines.

Masuk and Pellegrini decided to erect a tented area outdoors, giving the students an open-air environment.

“At first we thought we could accommodate the band in our 1,500-square-foot multipurpose room,” said Masuk. “But after careful consideration, we decided it’s summer, so let’s take advantage of the fresh air and outside environs. The band parents agreed that being outdoors was preferred, with the option to move indoors if weather required.”

“The parents have been an absolute delight to work with,” said Pellegrini. “The spirit of cooperation has literally put ‘music in the air’ and helped to give the kids the artistic release they badly needed coming out of the more restrictive COVID mandates.”

The band will perform outside at 6 pm, on Friday, July 30, at Creative Music Center, 701 Main Street. The public is invited to listen to such classics as “Song for My Father,” “Work Song,” and “Blue Bossa.”

In addition to Cowley, whose son Evan plays piano, other local parents involved include Carla Barzetti of Newtown with son Johnny on baritone sax, Kelly Connors of Newtown with daughter Abby on bells/percussion, Michelle Dargon of Newtown with son Liam on drums, Josephine Feola of Newtown with daughter Victoria on oboe and son David on alto sax, and Leisel Tala of Easton with son Ashton on alto sax.

About Creative Music Center

Creative Music Center has been named among the top 100 music stores in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) in ten of the last 11 years. Creative Music Center is dedicated to enhancing the virtues of music education throughout the region and nationally. Its core business is to provide lessons, instrument rentals, and products to the K-12 market; it also supports adult musicians.

Creative Music Center serves customers in Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Milford, Monroe, New Canaan, New Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Newtown, Ridgefield, Shelton, Stamford, Southbury, Stratford, Trumbull, West Haven, Weston, Westport, and elsewhere throughout the state.

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