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West Virginia Jazz Initiative

April 5, 2023

PITTSBURGH – In March, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation renewed its support for the expansion of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild's Jazz Education Initiative in rural school districts across southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

By expanding its Jazz Education Initiative, MCG Jazz will offer programs to schools in Greene County, Pennsylvania, and two new schools in Randolph County, West Virginia. This is in addition to the schools MCG Jazz already serves in Lewis County, Randolph County and Tucker County in West Virginia. MCG Jazz’ initiative will serve approximately 4,800 students and will provide professional development for teachers from local school districts and students from partner colleges and universities. It will also provide regional access to high-quality jazz concert performances for community members. The initiative will help develop a program sustainability model in partnership with administration at the collegiate and public school levels that incorporates locally sustainable funds to support each county’s future education and performance activities.


MCG Jazz continues to bring jazz into urban and rural communities through initiatives like The West Virginia Jazz Education Initiative and School of Swing™. The West Virginia Jazz Education Initiative (now in its 6th year of concerts, student instruction, professional development, college artist engagement, curriculum development, and online learning) will only keep growing with the continued support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.


A public performance by internationally touring artist and educator Monika Herzig (presented by MCG Jazz in partnership with the West Virginia Jazz Society) brings an incredible band to Lewis County, WV on April 19, 2023, to provide workshops and present a concert of Joni Mitchell music entitled “Both Sides of Joni.” The Bridgeport High School Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Garrett Friend, will start the show, followed by Monika Herzig on April 19, 2023, at West Virginia Wesleyan College, Benedum Campus Center - College Social Hall located at 59 College Avenue, Buckhannon, WV 26201. The open Q&A session with Monika Herzig starts at 6:15pm followed by the free performances at 7:00pm. To reserve your free tickets, email


School of Swing™ will consist of three performances in MCG Jazz’s newly renovated concert hall on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. All 3rd and 4th grade students in Pittsburgh Public Schools are invited to experience this 50-minute interactive and educational concert at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, located at 1815 Metropolitan Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Throughout the concert, students will learn about the different elements of music: Harmony, Melody, and Rhythm–and how they relate to jazz. Students will be turned into a human drum machine, sing a scat solo, and get groovy on the dance floor. Students will also learn about the music’s history and how jazz uses creativity, improvisation, and teamwork. Register your school for the free School of Swing field trip, at this link,

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