FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12 Illsley Ball NORDSTROM RECITAL HALL AT BENAROYA HALL, 7:30PM
Tribute to Clarence Acox with Garfield High School Band
& special guests
Presented with support from Benaroya Hall
$18 general/$16 Earshot members & seniors/$9 students
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|Clarence Acox by Bruce C. Moore
An instrumental figure in the Seattle music scene, both as an educator and as musician-performer, Clarence Acox Jr. has nurtured young musicians for the past 35 years as director of the jazz program at Garfield High School, where he leads the renowned Garfield Jazz Ensemble, who pay tribute to him during tonight’s concert.
Also in appreciation of Acox’s accomplishments and dedication, the Seattle Mayor’s Office has proclaimed October 12 Clarence Acox Day in Seattle. Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith presents the award at this evening’s celebration.
A decorated man and accomplished musician, educator and drummer, Acox was named Educator of the Year by DownBeat in 2001, received the Seattle Music Educator’s Association Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2004, a Mayor’s Arts Award in 2007, and most recently, the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award from Seattle’s ArtsFund in 2011.
In 1994, Acox was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, and in 1995 co-founded the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. He performs weekly with the Legacy Quartet (formerly, the Floyd Standifer Quartet) at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant, now for more than two decades, and directs Seattle University’s jazz ensemble and teaches with Seattle JazzEd.
A native of New Orleans, Acox came to Seattle in 1971 after graduating from Southern University, when he was recruited by Garfield High School to revive its music program. He began developing the jazz program from scratch at Garfield in 1979.
From humble beginnings, the Garfield High School jazz ensemble has gone on to receive national attention and achieve unprecedented success. Garfield has been selected as finalists eleven times in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival in New York City, the most prestigious national high school jazz
competition in the United States. They have brought four first-place trophies back to Seattle (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and garnered second (2002, 2008) and third place (2006) finishes. Under Acox’s direction, the jazz ensemble has also swept every major competition on the West Coast, including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, and Oregon’s Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. Notable Garfield graduates include Clark Gayton, Anne Drummond, Tatum Greenblatt and the Marriott brothers, to name just a few.
Acox wrote in a June 23, 2002, op-ed for the Seattle Times: “Music inspires. It is both emotional and intellectual, and because of that it provides a powerful strategy to get young people ‘hooked’ on learning.” The passion for music and lifelong learning that Acox has transmitted to his students, both past and present, will be on beautiful display tonight.
– Danielle Bias