breaking news

GREG KELLEY CASE: Texas Ranger affidavit contradicts Kelley statements

Melinger keeps Austin Jazz Workshop in tune


The Austin Jazz Workshop just wrapped its 21st season of bringing the most American musical art form to children in four area school districts.

Not that that means founder and bandleader Michael Melinger gets to take the summer off. While the rest of the band gigs professionally until the workshop regroups in the fall, Melinger, 59, is occupied with administrative stuff that never stops, like grant work and — the administrative stuff that never stops.

We brought you the story of Melinger, the workshop and the outreach they’ve done in Austin schools since 1994 in 2007. As of right now, Melinger figures they’ve played about 1,500 shows for students. And the reaction is as exuberant as ever.

“They’ve always been enthusiastic,” Melinger said. “They may be a little more savvy because it’s been going on so long. It’s a renewal every year. Out in the world I don’t think they’re getting jazz, so we bring it to them.”

In its earliest years the workshop didn’t present a specific curriculum. That’s changed. Melinger is working on arrangements for the upcoming George Gershwin season, which will feature vocals.

“We’ve done Gershwin once before, in like 1999,” Melinger said. “So we’re safe to do a repeat. Hopefully the fifth-graders the first time around aren’t still in school.”

The goal isn’t just to get kids interested in appreciating music. It is to get them interested in playing. And Melinger says the workshop will go on without him whenever he steps aside.

“We’re very thankful to have served the community for as long as we have and want to keep it going for a long time,” he said. “People ask me when I’m going to retire and I say probably five years, but I don’t want the workshop to retire when I do. When I sit down with the board we’re talking about hearing a new musical director and keeping the thing going. The (Austin) symphony doesn’t stop when Peter Bay leaves. And this is all we have for jazz in the schools and we have every intention of making it an institution.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

GREG KELLEY CASE: Texas Ranger affidavit contradicts Kelley statements
GREG KELLEY CASE: Texas Ranger affidavit contradicts Kelley statements

In the weeks before a 4-year-old boy accused Greg Kelley of molesting him in 2013, the former Leander football player was obsessed with pornography, spent hours alone with children attending the in-home daycare where he lived, and took a selfie of himself with the victim, according to a search warrant filed in Williamson County District Court on Thursday...
Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts
Lawmakers provide little extra money for Austin-area school districts

Despite talk of teacher raises and a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Texas House would have infused $1.8 billion into Texas schools, lawmakers left Austin this week without moving the needle much on education funding. Instead lawmakers passed a scaled back version of House Bill 21 that will spend $351 million on schools and $212 million to reduce...
Barcelona van attack: At least 13 killed in terror attack; 2 arrested
Barcelona van attack: At least 13 killed in terror attack; 2 arrested

Authorities said a terror attack in Barcelona claimed at least 13 lives on Thursday and left 80 others injured after a van slammed into pedestrians on Barcelona's popular La Rambla street. Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalonia police force, confirmed the attack in a Twitter post around 5:10 p.m. local time.
Richard Overton, country’s oldest vet, recovers and returns home from hospital
Richard Overton, country’s oldest vet, recovers and returns home from hospital

Richard Overton, the oldest living veteran in America, returned to his Austin home today after being admitted to the hospital when doctors found pneumonia in both his lungs last week, according to his family. Overton finished his regimen of antibiotics, and doctors decided he was strong enough to be released from St. David’s Medical Center...
UT’s McRaven worries that U.S. is losing sight of its common humanity

University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven said Thursday that the violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., has heightened his concern that the nation is losing sight of its common humanity. “Some, who are lost in a world of hatred, bigotry and violence, are focusing on our differences and not our commonalities,” McRaven said...
More Stories