The Gathering Jazz Orchestra

“Music has always been a place where mentorship was a big aspect of how the next generations are developed.”  Geri Allen

With that idea in mind as Artistic Director, Geri proposed the Carr Center continue the process of professional development in the form of a big band/jazz orchestra, a group that combines seasoned professionals with emerging motivated young talent.

The Gathering will be a Fellowship program, and in her memory, the participants will be named the Geri Allen Fellows.  Rodney Whitaker, renowned bassist; former member of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University; and a Carr Center Resident Artist, will serve as Music Director.  With Rodney, we know that the music will be hot and excellence will be the standard.

The orchestra will be comprised of 4 seasoned jazz veterans and 14 young (ages 18-30) professional Fellows.
Once selected via auditions and invitations, Fellows will continue in the program for 2 years.  Each year, they will participate in four to five one-week residencies based at the Carr Center. Over the course of each of these weeks, they will participate in community jam sessions, community engagement and education programs, rehearse and perform the standards, large ensemble classics, and present new music.  Fellows will be encouraged to use The Gathering as a testing ground for their own compositions, and may have opportunities to lead the ensemble. Each residency week will culminate in public performance(s). 

What’s required for The Gathering Orchestra fellowship? 

Members of The Gathering will be required and must commit to participate in all planned and scheduled activities.  All Fellows will receive a weekly Fellowship stipend of $1500.

Prospective Gathering members must submit an audition performance via mp4.

All candidates must perform the following selections unaccompanied, displaying good time, swing ability, technical facility, soulfulness, sound and tone.

  • Billie’s Bounce, Charlies Parker:  Play the melody once, improvise two choruses and the melody out once (tempo half note = 92)
  • Cherokee, Ray Noble:  Play the melody once, improvise one chorus (tempo half note = 150)
  • In A Mellow Tone, Duke Ellington:  Play the melody once, improvise one chorus (tempo half note = 52)

All selected candidates will be required to sight-read.

Audition recordings should be sent to:

Recordings are due by 11:59 p.m. October 15, 2017.

Selected candidates will be invited to a live audition.  Live invitational audition will be held, Monday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Carr Center Gallery, 1505 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48226

2017 -2018 Residency Weeks

(All Fellows are required full participation for Residency weeks 6:00 -10:00 p.m. each day.)

October 23 – 28, 2017

January 22 – 29, 2018

March 5 – 10, 2018

May 14 – 19, 2018

June 18 -23, 2018 (tentative)

For additional information, submit questions to: The Gathering



The CARR Center
4750 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 965-8430


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