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Community lecture trumpets jazz music
Series runs through fall
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Forsyth County News

What's next

All lectures in the North Georgia Community Connections series are free and open to the public. They will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at the Hampton Park Library on 5345 Settingdown Road on the following schedule:

Sept. 29: "The Economy in Perspective"
John L. Scott, associate professor and director of the Center for Economic Education  

Oct. 6: "Engaging Science Students K-12: Motivating Tomorrow’s Scientists"
Michael B. McGinnis, professor, Department of Chemistry

Oct. 13: "Mobilizing Creativity: Artmaking, Community and an Airstream Trailer"
Chris Dockery, assistant professor of art education

Oct. 20: "Leadership in Uncertain Times"
Ruben Boling, director of the Center for the Future of North Georgia
Wendy Walker, assistant professor, Mike Cottrell School of Business

Oct. 27: "Preparing Teachers for 21st Century Students"
Barbara Dixon, coordinator post-baccalaureate studies, School of Education

Nov. 3: "Childhood Obesity"
Elaine Taylor, associate professor, Department of Nursing

Jazz isn’t dead.

That’s one of many points Andy David made Wednesday night to a small gathering at the Hampton Park Library as part of North Georgia College and State University’s ongoing Community Connections lecture series.

David, a musician and head of the university’s performing arts department, kicked off the fall series with “Jazz is America’s Music and Why That Matters.”

“Jazz music has paralleled the history of the United States pretty well since the end of the 19th century up to the present day,” David said. “It’s just sometimes we lost exactly where that fabric, where that line was moving, either backwards or forwards.”

David used his trumpet-playing skills to punctuate the lecture, along with recordings of music by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.

He explained similarities between jazz and American culture such as improvisation, a need for freedom at all costs, the courage to take big risks and a desire to succeed.

Forsyth County resident Brenda Sams, who said she plans to attend all of the lectures in the series, didn’t know what to expect from David’s presentation.

“I’m just surprised that he played the trumpet for us,” she said.

While Rod Stewart may not be the first name to come to mind when thinking of jazz, Sams said she enjoys listening to the rocker’s "Great American Songbook" album. The collection features well-known jazz tunes like “My Funny Valentine” and “It Had to be You.”

“I’ve always liked Louis Armstrong’s ‘(What a) Wonderful World’ and of course I’ve always heard jazz off and on, but never really appreciated it that much until Rod Stewart came out with his songbooks,” Sams said.

David explained the various forms of jazz that have developed over more than 100 years.

From New Orleans funeral bands to upbeat dance tunes played in speak-easies during Prohibition to slower, more relaxing cool jazz by artists like Miles Davis to the most recent development, jazz fusion.

David said while many aficionados think jazz died in 1974 with the passing of Duke Ellington, known as America’s greatest composer, the music still has life in it.

“You can’t look back in jazz, you can’t just do it,” David said. “You can look back to inform yourself, but if you’re going to really be a jazzer, you’ve got to look forward. There’s got to be something else because otherwise you’re just a clone.”

The university’s series will continue next week with John Scott, associate professor and director of the Center for Economic Education.

His presentation, “The Economy in Perspective: Where are we now? Where have we been? Where are we going?” is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the library.