Photo Gallery | Jazz lessons at Herberg Middle School
PITTSFIELD — Just in time for March, also known as Music in Our Schools Month, some Berkshire County band students have been treated to the sounds and lessons of accomplished musicians.
Richard Boulger, a Drury High School graduate and professional jazz trumpeter who has toured with the Greg Allman Band, brought friend and saxophonist Alex Foster, musical director of the Mingus Big Band and member of television's "Saturday Night Live" house band, to share their expertise with students this week.
Supported by RS Berkeley Music Instruments, free music clinics are being presented to students from Stearns Elementary School; Reid Middle and Herberg Middle schools; Pittsfield, Taconic and Wahconah Regional high schools. The two musicians previously visited the Pittsfield middle and high schools, along with Hoosac Valley Middle and High School and Drury High School back in the fall, and also gave a public concert at the Drury Performing Arts Center.
On Wednesday night, Boulger and Foster joined and Entrain's Tom Major and local ensemble Gruppo Mondo (Peter Primamore, Aaron Dean, Fran Tokarz) to give a public performance at the Rainbow Restaurant.
At Herberg Middle School on Thursday morning, Boulger and Foster did a bit of performance and also challenged students to play during teacher Chris Nelson-Unczur's jazz band practice. The two guests also offered students tips to help them improve instrumental and improvisational techniques, as well as practice.
Boulger has been dedicated to making music instruction and instruments more accessible to students. He's the founder and director of Brooklyn Music and Arts, Inc., a non-profit supporting inner-city students, and has worked with Pittsfield music director Ron Lively to help make RS Berkeley instruments available for rental or purchase from Wood Bros. Music in the Allendale Shopping Center.
According to his website, Boulger, who grew up in North Adams, credits his father (also named Richard) — a trumpeter and teacher — for introducing him to a wealth of music growing up.