Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Last Friday, August 27, was one of those “You should have been there” evenings. There was Trenton, NJ. Not a place I especially associate with extraordinary violinists or out-of-this-world modern dance. Just goes to show how wrong some assumptions can be.

The occasion was a fundraising held in the War Memorial/Patriots Theater, an architecturally stately building that surely has its own story to tell. On this night, a ballroom full of peaceful patriots turned out to give financial and moral support to The Conservancy (NJ). The Conservancy (NJ)is both a place and a dream. It is becoming a center where young people and artists come together for learning and teaching. Think of art in the broadest sense of the word and you’ll be in tune with Sterick and Jacqui Ivey. They are the driving force in resurrecting the historic Trenton Conservatory of Music--where young Jacqui Ivey took piano lessons-- as The Conservancy (NJ). They envision a place where children engage in all sorts of artistic expressions from cooking to drumming. "There’s a lot of talent in Trenton” she says. Given the current cutbacks in public school art programs, Jacqui Ivey feels the need is urgent, and she is determined to nourish young talent while promoting local artists and arts events in the process.

The benefit performances were stunning, with The Wesley Drears Duo, Dancespora and the Scott Tixier Group taking turns on stage. Scott, just 24 yrs old, is an amazing jazz violinist (with a ‘fro that won’t quit). A native of France who now calls Brooklyn home, Tixier is winning kudos within New York’s jazz musician community.
His energy and virtuosity got me thinking about the late Noel Pointer,the brilliant jazz violinist,record producer and social activist who I admired and once interviewed. Pointer, also a Brooklynite, died of a stroke in '94 just before he would have turned 40. As an activist, he led fellow artists in raising public awareness around the controversial dismantling of the African Burial Grounds in lower Manhattan. His legacy also includes a foundation and a music school. Empowering Children One Note At A Time was the mission of Noel Pointer. I am inspired and feel the thread of our human connectedness when I see people like Scott Tixier and Eric Thomas, a Trenton elementary school teacher,---and others--joining with the Iveys in that same spirit and commitment.Check out the web info on Scott Tixier and Noel Pointer. And learn more about the Iveys work:
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