Jazz festival benefits children in Uganda

Posted April 02, 2013

The third annual Abilene Jazz Fest will be held Monday, April 8, from 7-10 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre. Hosted by ACU, the Jazz Fest is free of charge, but the organizers are asking for monetary donations as well as used instruments. Proceeds will go toward the Elgon Youth Brass Band in Mbale, Uganda.

The Ugandan band, dreamed up four years ago, consists of homeless and at-risk children who perform in the band as a way to earn money for food, shelter and education. The initiative has grown to include a dance troupe, a school and a shelter for the homeless and at-risk kids involved in the band.

“I really do believe in the benefits of music and music education. However, sometimes I want more out of music,” says Derek Brown, director of jazz studies at ACU. “Music is literally helping keep these kids alive, not to mention giving them a purpose and an education. 

The community is coming together to put on the jazz festival and support the Ugandan band. N-Tune Music and Sound, a locally owned Abilene music store, will act as a drop-off site for donated instruments and will repair the instruments if necessary. Eight jazz bands from area high schools and universities, including ACU, will come together to play for the Jazz Fest.

“Since I've been teaching at ACU, I've realized the students here really want to do something with their lives that makes some kind of a difference in this world,” says Brown. “And music is making that difference. It is changing the lives of these children and truly making them better." 

Learn more about the ACU Department of Music


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