The Carr Center Arts Academy
Detroit… the city where music never sleeps… has always played a pivotal role in the creation, foundation and continued development of that singular, life affirming American musical legacy simply known as … Jazz!
Since its inception the legacy of Jazz has been transmitted across generations of musicians through mentors, seasoned veterans taking the “up and comers” under their wings , giving them an opportunity to learn and play together while creating new work and advancing the art form. The Carr Center, following the vision of our former Artistic Director the late, great jazz artist, Geri Allen, formalized and institutionalized this tradition and The Gathering Orchestra, our Geri Allen Fellows, was born, in October 2017.
The Gathering Orchestra is a two-year fellowship program, under the artistic direction of renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker, former member of the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and Carr Center Resident Artist. The Gathering is comprised of 4 seasoned jazz veterans and 14 emerging and highly talented young musicians,(ages 18 – 28). Fellows rehearse and perform with their mentors on standards, large ensemble classics, new music and their own original compositions.
Like the rest of the world, the orchestra was sidelined by the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, a nonet of orchestra members was brought together by Rodney Whitaker, to complete a week long Detroit residency in May 2021 and to engage in a very exciting cultural exchange with the Uralskiy Dixieland Ensemble out of Chelyabinsk, Russia which culminated in a documentary film chronicling that amazing project.
The Gathering Orchestra Nonet most recently came back together for their third Detroit residency during the last week of October 2021. The residency wrapped up first with a Livestream student matinee for Detroit Public Schools Community District on Friday November 5 and then the Nonet took the stage as part of our “Season Spectacular” launching the 2021/2022 Carr Center season and our 30th Anniversary Celebration.
The Gathering Orchestra Nonet, will return to The Carr Center stage on May 21 to perform the World Premiere of an original composition by renowned pianist, composer and arranger Patrice Rushen, commissioned as part of the Resonate Project collaboration.