Latest News from Melissa

Check the Appearances page for the latest news about Melissa's upcoming performances.

Greetings from the "JAZZMOM"

Latest News - January 2019

Well, heck. For the first time in a long, long time, I was anxious to say “hello” to a new year and “good riddance” to the old! My typically sunny disposition was dampened a bit in 2018 by medical needs/surprises. March found me with a broken right index finger. OUCH. Still trying to heal from it. Kind of an important finger for a piano player. But, “hey”, it’s just jazz, right?
My mom suffered a stroke in July and then my daughter Rachel (a college soccer player and team captain) ruptured her ACL in August. Ick. So...let’s get on with 2019, shall we?!

I’m still teaching choir and heading up the Music and Fine Arts Department at East Anchorage High School, the most diverse public high school in the nation. This distinction is one of which I am very proud. My choirs are fantastic, and I experience particular joy in leading my 22-member swing/jazz choir. They are a talented bunch of sophomores, juniors and seniors. Do yourself a favor and come to a performance. The future of music is in the hands of our youngsters. We must continue to nurture, educate, and encourage them to carry on the tradition of music and its performance in our society. I love this quote from Wynton Marsalis, “There are forces all around you who wish to exploit division, rob you of your freedom, and tell you what to think. But young folks can rekindle the weary spirit of a slumbering nation.”

As far as gigs are concerned. I’m still playing! It’s just that most of my appearances are at private events. In case you haven’t noticed, there aren’t many (any) jazz clubs in town anymore. Sad, to be sure. But, I am optimistic that it’s not futile to keep hoping that some wonderful club/bar/restaurant owner will discover the wisdom that lies in the idea that a jazz supper club is needed in this city of 300,000. Wake up and smell the scotch, people!!!

I’m very excited about two of my gigs this first quarter of 2019. First, I am involved in a UAA Jazz Week Benefit on January 30, 2019. The line-up is pretty stellar here, people!
John Sterling is a fabulous guitarist. He’s organizing the evening and has included Pat Owens (wickedly good trumpet/ flugelhorn player) and Cameron Cartland (drummer extraodinaire) to name a few. You really should make a point of attending this shindig.

Then on February 8, I’m joining the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra for a Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. You better put this one on your calendar as well!

As always, I appreciate the support that I’ve received from music lovers over the years. Thank you for keeping live jazz and live music alive in Anchorage. Make a resolution to educate a friend or two about the multitude of wonderful music and musicians that perform in this beautiful state. We exist because of you- the listener.

Happy New Year to all. ~ Melissa “The Jazzmom”

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