School Jazz is a film about art and creativity, and why art education is critical for the practical and spiritual evolution of our society.
From 1992 -- '94 the Unified Jazz Ensemble — UJE — taught and played in a small town in Northeast Iowa — Decorah — as part of an arts residency. The impact was dramatic, for the musicians, for the town, for the students and for the way people in Decorah related to the arts.
In May of 2011 UJE came back. This time it was just for a matter of days, but once again they had a dramatic and positive impact on the community and people.
How did educators — in the Decorah Public Schools and at Luther College — justify spending the money for what was clearly an optional arts program? What were the benefits? Why was this so important to the people and students in this small town? Are the arts that important in our schools? Are there practical reasons for this? Or is it fluff?
School Jazz is structured around the final UJE concert of the trip in the historic auditorium of Carrie Lee School, and it is interspersed with the comments of experts, past and present, students, teachers and band members. From the Director of the Iowa Department of Education to experts on how we think and why creativity is such a critical part of the process. Let us listen and learn.