A little scat, a little jazz ... a whole lot of education

Local award-winning jazz musician Chris Dempsey is visiting Mercyhurst College this week to share his artistry with prospective teachers studying aesthetic education. On Thursday, he’s also expected to explore scat singing and other forms of vocal and trombone improvisation with the students.

Dempsey, a graduate of Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, was termed “one of the best jazz trombonists you’ll probably ever hear” by jazz luminary Phil Wilson. He recently released his first album, “Onward,” featuring original compositions by Chris and the members of his New York Jazz Quartet.

He has toured and performed with groups including the Temptations, the Gene Krupa Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Orchestra. As both a soloist and a bandleader, he has won numerous awards including the National Jazz Trombone Soloist Competition, the National Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition and the Kai Winding Competition of the International Trombone Association.

The Aesthetic Education class introduces future teachers to aesthetics, as they experience and become more familiar with the arts and learn how to explore the arts with their students. It is the only course of its kind in the country outside of New York City that is preparing pre-service elementary educators to teach using Lincoln Center Institute’s aesthetic education approach.

The course is co-taught by Mercyhurst College professors Dr. Timothy Frawley of the Education Department and Camille Nischal of the Art Department, with the help of teaching artists including Christine Hay of the Dance Department and Cherie Lachowski, a local musician and educator.
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