Jazz Singer Helps Students Explore Music’s Magic for Black History Month


A twice-Emmy nominated, award winning jazz entertainer recently helped young students explore the African origins of jazz and its rich history for Black History Month.

“The Sound that Jazz Makes” was Chase School’s focus for February’s “Books Alive!” program.

Presented by Learning Through Art, Inc.’s “Books Alive!” program, Learning Through Art CEO Kathy Wade met with Chase School students in grades PreK-3. She helped students trace the art form’s origins from rhythms and beats to its influence in modern-day hip-hop and rap—all with the assistance of the critically-acclaimed children’s book, “The Sound that Jazz Makes,” by Carole Boston Weatherford.

“Jazz is a magic word,” Wade told the students. “When I go somewhere in the world and I don’t know the language, I can make a friend through jazz.”

Accompanying Wade on keyboard was Phil DeGreg, a Cincinnati-based jazz pianist and professor emeritus at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Wade covered the expansive and fragmented musical genres and periods influenced by the experiences of African slaves while trying to communicate with one another 400 years ago.

Wade derived lessons from the lyrics of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” and encouraged students to try scatting, a technique that was a signature of Ella Fitzgerald’s singing style. At the end of the program, she led the students through a singing telegram of “That’s What Friends Are For,” made famous by Dionne Warwick.

Wade encouraged all students to finish what they start in life.

Parents that want to explore The Sound That Jazz Makes can check out this YouTube video featuring Wade.

Keep up with the great things happening at Chase School, a Vision 2020 school focusing on Arts & Culture, at chase.cps-k12.org,


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