The Nash Announces Creation of the Mary Bishop Perret Jazz Education Fund

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Posted By on September 10, 2020
Lewis Nash and Mary Bishop Perret

In honor of her long-standing love and support of young jazz artists, The Nash announced the establishment of The Mary Bishop Perret Jazz Education Fund.

Donations made to the fund will directly support The Nash programs for youth, including Phoenix Jazz Girls, The Nash Legacy Ensemble and The Nash Futures, providing scholarships for young musicians who want to learn and play jazz.

From 1979-1982, Perret managed the Century Sky Room on Washington Street — the launching pad for young men and women who’d go on to jazz greatness, like Lewis Nash, Allan Chase, Margo Reed and Francine Reed.

Then she solidified her place in Phoenix’ jazz history by producing a seven-part concert series called the “Roots of Jazz,” that is beloved to this day.

So when Mary died in July, a day short of her 81st birthday, her jazz friends in Phoenix sought an appropriate way to honor her memory and her legacy. That has resulted in the Mary Bishop Perret Jazz Education Fund at the Nash.

“I think this is a most appropriate way to honor this special lady,” said Joel Robin Goldenthal, executive director of the Nash. “This is a restricted fund dedicated to supporting three of our exciting education programs — our new Phoenix Jazz Girls Rising, the Future Workshop, and the Nash Legacy Ensemble.”

Phoenix Jazz Girls Rising is an innovative new entry level jazz program designed to teach female musicians, ages 10-17, basic skills in jazz, while building their self-esteem and confidence in performing in what has traditionally been a male-dominated art form. The program concludes with a concert for family and friends.

The Nash Futures Workshop offers young musicians, ages 10-17, a pathway so they can begin to speak the language of jazz. It also gives them a chance to be part of a jazz band.

The Nash Legacy Ensembles brings talented high school jazz musicians from across the Valley to explore jazz styles, composition and arranging techniques, along with the art of improvisation, gaining invaluable small-group performance experience and expert coaching.

The Nash anticipates an annual concert by young musicians as a fundraiser for the Fund.

“Those of us who loved Mary know how pleased and proud she’d be that her memory is devoted to youth education,” says Jana Bommersbach, a member of the planning committee. “She remains in the House. We can almost hear her yelling, ‘Yeah’.” 

Contributions can be made by cash, check or online at http://thenash.org/marybishopperret

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