April 2012, Volume 16, Number 2

Cultural Spotlight

MDC Jazzing Up Downtown

For decades, Downtown Miami has been the site of a unique migratory pattern. Once a month, just before noon, office workers, students and residents of the bustling city center gravitate to Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Auditorium to enjoy an enriching sonic experience, courtesy of the College’s Jazz at Wolfson Presents concert series.

The series’ spring line-up boasts a bevy of seasoned jazz musicians. In January, renowned pianist and MDC alumnus Mike Orta kicked off the new year with an exciting performance to a standing-room-only crowd.

Education at the Core

While attendance by the community has grown exponentially, education remains at the core of Jazz at Wolfson Presents, founded 14 years ago by arts and philosophy professor Dr. Michael Di Liddo.

“I felt that the students would be getting a limited education if all they heard about jazz music were from me,” Di Liddo said. “The greats learned by listening to recordings and going to the clubs to hear their heroes play. We don’t have the clubs, so I thought, ‘Let’s bring the heroes to them.’ ”

A Gift to the Community

This commitment to put education first extends into the community. All of the concerts are free and open to the public, and Di Liddo has partnered with area public schools to give local children the opportunity to experience live jazz. About 200 sixth-graders attended February’s performance featuring drummer Nate Smith and the March performance by vocalist/violinist Nicole Yarling.

The season wraps up in late April with vibraphonist Dick Sisto. For more information on Jazz at Wolfson Presents, visit http://tinyurl.com/jazzatwolfson.

— MR

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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