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Barcelona Beats: ABC joins CPS students in Barcelona for jazz education


“Anything is possible, if the opportunity exists.”

From September 1-8, 2022, Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC) partnered with the Kennedy Heights Arts Center and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to take eleven students across the Atlantic to a jazz festival in Barcelona, Spain. 

In addition to several parent chaperones, the CPS Middle School Jazz Combo were accompanied on their trip by Dr. Isidore Rudnick, the Fine Arts Curiculum Manager and Director of the CPS Jazz Academy, as well as ABC’s Executive Director, Sally Grimes. “This is a tremendous, once in a lifetime experience for these students,” said Dr. Isidore Rudnick of the excursion.

The opportunity would never have been offered without the Jazz Festival, an annual event hosted by ABC to connect students across Cincinnati with local and international jazz artists, master classes and workshops, and performance opportunities on the main stage at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. In May 2022, the featured jazz artist was Joan Chamorro, internationally acclaimed jazz artist and educator. He enjoyed his time so thoroughly with our students that he invited them to participate in the 2022 edition of a prominent jazz festival in Barcelona, the Jazzing Festival de Sant Andreu.

With the generosity of a passionate arts supporter, eleven students (and many of their parents) were able to travel to Barcelona to play on an international stage, take classes with musicians from around the world, and experience an entirely different culture. Most of the students on the trip had never left the United States before, and most reported that their greatest anxieties lie around flying for the first time, being away from home, and making mistakes in foreign places. But they also shared their excitement to be learning new jazz skills from people very different from themselves, as well as seeing and experiencing a new culture for the first time. “I’m excited to learn about what it’s like to not be in the United States,” shared Carolina, a seventh grade percussionist from Walnut Hills.

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