05-20-2018  2:53 pm      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

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Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

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University of Oregon sorry for statement on student death

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon has apologized for a statement it put out after a student was found dead during a trip to Shasta Lake in Northern California.The 21-year-old student, identified as business administration major Dylan Pietrs, was found dead at a boat-in campground...

Responders searching for missing vessel find oil sheen

OCEAN PARK, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says crews searching for a missing vessel in Willapa Bay have found an oil sheen and debris where they believe the 43-foot boat went down.Authorities say the wife of a man who took the fishing boat Kelli J out reported him overdue on Saturday....

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...


'13 Reasons Why' premiere canceled after Texas shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix canceled the premiere party for its second season of the teen drama "13 Reasons Why" because of a school shooting near Houston.The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning...

'Shoplifters' wins Palme d'Or, grand prize to Spike Lee

A tumultuous Cannes Film Festival concluded Saturday with the Palme d'Or awarded to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Shoplifters," a tender portrait of a poor, impoverished family, while Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento vowed justice will come to all sexual predators.At the closing...

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...


Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion...

Iraq's al-Sadr, promising reform, is constrained by Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric whose political coalition beat out Iran's...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering...

Iraq's al-Sadr says next government will be 'inclusive'

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition won the largest number of seats in Iraq's...

Cubans mourn plane crash dead, officials ID 20 bodies

HAVANA (AP) — At morgues and in church services, tearful Cubans on Sunday mourned loved ones who died in...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Semaj Baldwin
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News

Jazz legend Thara Memory is expanding music education at King School in Northeast Portland. Memory has started a beginning music program that will teach students how to play instruments, and play in a jazz band. See pics of the students in class with Memory here

“It’s such an amazing opportunity to have Thara here,” said King’s principal Eryn Berg.  “Studies over and over again show that kids benefit in many, many ways from having arts and music in schools.”

Students with no prior musical experience are invited to audition for the program, which will create a band with up to 20 student musicians. Twice a week the students will practice together with Memory and each one will be paired up with an expert instrument teacher.

“I’m pulling kids out of the hallway and I’m putting instruments in their hands,” Memory said. “And they will get private lessons from the best professional teachers.”

Memory won a Grammy with his student Esperanza Spalding. And he says seeing his students go on to win fame and acclaim is his greatest joy in life.  Spalding is just one of the students Memory has inspired to become successful musicians. Others include: saxophonists Patrick Lamb and Hailey Niswanger,  trombonist Javier Nero, multi-instrumentalist John Nastos and many more. And Memory’s American Music Project jazz band has won numerous awards.

“People ask me why I don’t tour,” he says. “ They don’t understand that I won that Grammy for being a teacher. I’m not out to make a bunch of money. Teaching makes me feel good.”

Berg says that years of cuts to arts and music programs have impoverished students’ education, and left schools scrambling to ensure children learn about music and the arts.

“Over the years they have cut PE, cut music and cut arts,” she says. “We have raised funds so we can have an African dance class and African drumming, and we have a half-time dramatic arts teacher. But I want to bring a sustainable program. I want Thara here for five years – and I’d rather have 10 or 15 years.

“These kids really deserve to have music here all the time,” Berg says. “Our student body is 90 percent eligible for free and reduced school lunches. Parents don’t have the money to spend on private lessons.”

Memory says he is on a mission to bring back musical education to children in Northeast Portland.

“They’ve had no musical education for 30 years,” he says. “They don’t get the chance to work for success. I want to wake people up so we can change this.”

A trumpeter, composer, conductor and teacher, Memory grew up in Florida. He arrived in Portland in 1970, before gentrification and when Northeast Portland was a thriving musical neighborhood.

“I was on tour with the Joe Tex band, skinny legs and all,” he says. “Portland was really beautiful and the Black community here was exceptionally beautiful in those days.” Memory was impressed that African Americans were living in old three-storey mansions with columns and gracious porches.

“I’d just come out of Watts, which looked like a bomb had exploded,” he says. “They hadn’t fixed anything since the riots. We had a gig in Seattle and I heard we could stop in Portland Oregon and play in this club called the Upstairs Lounge. So when they decided to move on I said, ‘I’m staying”. I figured I could do something here. It was beautiful; the whole community was glued together.”

Memory went to play with a local band. And on the spot, the band leader turned the band over to him. A big band with “older cats from the community” they played at a club called Lou’s Higher Ground, he says. Working in King School is like coming home, Memory says.

“Hopefully I can bring some musical culture back to that neighborhood. So if you want me to accomplish something—support me.”

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