This February, students in the Lower School celebrated Black History Month by learning about different styles of music that originate in the African American community.
Students in Luna Prep began by reading the book, Rent Party Jazz by William Miller and learning about the significance of Rent Parties. Popular in the African American community during the 1920’s and 30’s, Rent Parties were hosted whenever a family was struggling to pay the rent. The neighborhood rallied together to bring whatever food they could spare, while local musicians provided entertainment as a means of escape from financial woes. Families set out a bucket, and anyone who had money to spare contributed. Rent parties were popular in Harlem, giving many famous jazz musicians got their start.
Luna Prep musicians hosted their own Rent Party, utilizing their talents as a way to support people in NYC, just like Harlem Renaissance artists. The students voted to support a charity that provides food for New Yorkers; No Kid Hungry. For two weeks, they continued to learn about jazz and practice their solo performances in music sessions with instructor, Sarah Murcek.
Teachers brought snacks, and the students took turns performing, ranging from piano improv, to GarageBand instruments, to dancing and lip syncing! Parents contributed by sending their children to school with change to toss in the bucket, raising a total of $86.01 for No Kid Hungry!
“Students got to experience the pride and joy that comes from being able to help others and also to be able to share their musical skills with others,” said Murcek.