A Vision of Hope
How Four Schools Put on a Jazz Choir Collaboration during a Pandemic School Year
Shared by NAfME Member Edward A. Trimis
Last fall, four different Los Angeles-area schools got together to provide their school communities a vision of hope: a collaborative virtual performance of “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
NAfME member Edward A. Trimis, principal at Legacy Visual and Performing Arts High School, shared the story and the December performance. From the press release:
[Last fall,] Drew Lewis, Choir Director at Cortines High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, reached out to several Los Angeles schools with the idea to record a multi-choir arrangement of a classic jazz tune as an end-of-year project. The result was a massive collaborative effort focused on uplifting the spirits of Los Angeles students living through a difficult time while helping to develop various recording techniques and bolstering the skills of students around the county.
“I was so happy with the work that all of our students did and the dedication and tireless efforts of their directors,” said Dr. Edward Trimis, principal at Legacy Visual and Performing Arts High School. “The project really reminded us all that anything can be accomplished by a dedicated group of people working together, that the arts unify everyone and illuminate the world, even in the darkest of times.”
“The project really reminded us all that anything can be accomplished by a dedicated group of people working together, that the arts unify everyone and illuminate the world, even in the darkest of times.”
The music video became available on YouTube beginning December 11, and all four schools [viewed] the video at their end-of-the semester programs the last week of the semester. In one week, the video has already been seen more than 3,400 times according to YouTube. The collaborative effort consisted of five groups, five directors, four schools, and 54 students.
The final recording is truly an example of what can be done by a diverse group of people with a common goal. The arts unify us all, and we are all alike in more ways than we are different. It is a testament to the hard work and quality of both music educators and music students.
School groups who participated were Cortines HS (Director, Drew Lewis), Legacy VAPA HS (Directors, Ed Trimis and Valerie Espinoza), Van Nuys HS (Director, Brianne Zeider), and Torres East LA Performing Arts Magnet (Director, Melissa Rios). The music and video were mixed and produced by Lewis and featured all four groups, three soloists, and story boards created by performers.
Watch the performance:
Video release party:
About the contributor:
NAfME member Dr. Edward Trimis (BA, MA, EdD.), has held several teaching and administrative positions in Los Angeles at all levels and has been responsible for many reforms and innovative music and arts programs in schools featured in several newspapers and local and national journals, is an adjunct professor at USC, is a highly sought after presenter at local, state-wide, and national conferences, and frequently serves the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as a visiting team chair. Currently the principal at Legacy Visual and Performing Arts High School in South Gate, CA, he has served as a principal at Verdugo Hills High School, City of Angels School and Virtual Academy, and Manual Arts High School, assistant principal at Polytechnic High School, central office positions as a Specialist (Grants Unit) and Coordinator (Operations), and teacher at Huntington Park High School and Berendo Middle School.
Trimis is proud member of the National Association for Music Education, LAUSD Senior High School Principals Organization, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA), the Jazz Education Network (JEN), the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
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May 6, 2021. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)