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Middle School Presents Next Jazz Musical

Two years ago Clifford Carlson, a teacher at Louis Armstrong Middle School (LAMS) in East Elmhurst, N.Y., teamed with composer and Illinois Jacquet Big Band alumnus Eli Yamin and produced a musical tribute to free-jazz forefather Sun Ra that featured a cast of students-the school’s most forward-thinking talent, no doubt. The production was the fourth original jazz musical put on by the Jazz Drama Program, a cross-curricular initiative LAMS began in order to educate the young ones about jazz through involvement in the music.

This year Carlson and Yamin have written Holding the Torch for Liberty, another jazz musical, this time telling the story of the women’s suffrage movement. The show’s music draws from the sound of jazz around that time (1920 or so), with original tunes inspired by the work of W.C. Handy, Eubie Blake and James P. Johnson.

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