Eddie Baker, founder of the International Jazz Hall of Fame, was a prominent jazz legend in Kansas City. Growing up just blocks from our main office, Eddie was a strong advocate to help our organization in its early stages. After his death in 2001, we realized the legacy of his talent. With his family as our largest supporter, we began the Eddie Baker School of Music Program in 2008. We quickly learned that our families were thrilled with the opportunity for music.
The Eddie Baker School of Music provides one-on-one lessons to students throughout the school year, gives group “Fundamentals of Music” classes in our Summer Program, and teaches our jazz ensemble group. For individual lessons, students are given 30 minutes a week one on one with a music teacher. Our inventory of instruments includes trumpet, clarinet, sax, flute, piano & percussion. We provide each student with a “loaner” instrument to use and take home for practice. At the end of each semester, students will perform in a music recital, at which we have an outpouring of parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends to watch and listen to their favorite new young aspiring musician. This program is free of cost to the families.
“Through the Upper Room Program, I’ve had an opportunity to learn more about the thing that I love most in the world.”
Jaylon, Eddie Baker School of Music Program participant
More advanced students may be asked to take part in our Jazz Ensemble, which practices on Saturday mornings and performs at various events throughout the year. They have performed for consecutive years at the 18th & Vine Jazz Festival on the main stage, as well as Church of the Resurrection’s Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration Event. These are just a couple of examples of the many events they play each year.
Greg Richter is the Director of the Eddie Baker School of Music. In 2008, he was the sole provider of music lessons, recital organization, compilations, and management. As the program grew, so did the need for teaching staff. We now have 6 staff members within the Eddie Baker School of Music to conduct thirty-minute lessons each week.
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