Jul 11, 2023 - Education

Gift from Quincy Jones and a grant save middle school jazz program

A young person in black pants and black button up shirt sits playing a saxophone with other band members nearby.

Mika-Anthony Miroite, who will be in eighth grade next year, plays the baritone sax for Washington Middle School’s jazz band. Photo courtesy of Shay Miroite

A one-time gift from legendary musician Quincy Jones and a long-term grant from a Seattle foundation have rescued a historically important and beloved middle school jazz program that had been on the chopping block.

Driving the news: Washington Middle School band students and parents are "incredibly grateful" for both the $50,000 gift from Grammy-winner Jones, and the commitment from the Seattle-based Nesholm Family Foundation to fund the program for years, Shay Miroite, the president of Friends of Washington Music, told Axios.

  • "The Nesholm gift is a game changer," said Miroite, because it will pay for the school's second full-time music position, allowing a broad program that includes beginning band, concert band, beginning orchestra and choir to continue, in addition to jazz band.

Seattle Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but The Seattle Times reported the district contacted Jones, a graduate of Garfield High School, for the donation.

The big picture: Facing a $131 million budget shortfall for the 2023-2024 school year, Seattle Public Schools had proposed painful trims.


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