For more than four decades, the Jazz Workshop has been committed to keeping Jazz alive in Pittsburgh.
“My father [Harold Young] actually started the Jazz Workshop Inc in 1973…I had been involved since I was a very young lady,” said executive director Dr. Jacqueline L. Young. “He started the Jazz Workshop to fulfill a need. There were two musician unions, the white musician union, and the Black musician union, and they were forced to merge because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took away the focus to service the young African Americans.”
She added, “He had been teaching some young men, and they told a woman at the Carnegie library, and she said, “well, why don’t you come here,” and so that’s how it started.”
Today, the Jazz Workshop is a music appreciation and performance-based organization.
“It’s important to recognize the fact that Jazz came from America. It’s the main artistic form that we have contributed to the world, and of course, African Americans are a huge component…We want to recognize that, and people enjoy listening to it not only because it’s so soothing, but it transmits emotion.”
Throughout this summer, the Jazz Workshop is hosting free, weekly jazz performances for the public to enjoy. Young said this has been received well.
“People love the music. They love the live entertainment.”
Young is seeking donations to continue the music education program, which is open to all, not just youth. Once housed inside the Carnegie library, she is now looking to secure a new home.
“I want to have the whole building renovated just to make it beautiful and so that we’ll be able to continue the music educational component of the program,” said Young. “[Music education] improves study skills. It enhances self-esteem, self-efficacy. It just gives you what my father would say, an alternative to the rhythms of the streets.”
To donate to the Jazz Workshop, visit www.jazzworkshopinc.org.
1015 Center Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15221