Please make your tax- deductible check donations payable to:
P.S. 178 School Band Bank Education Account

St. Clair Mckelway
2163 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11233

Hello Friends,

I first started working with the students at PS 178 in 2007. To say that my time spent with the children and the schools’ faculty and staff was inspired is an understatement.

My partner Dean Benny Brinson and I were able to work closely with children who in some cases were neighborhood gang members and get them out of street gangs and into playing MUSIC. I was also able to recruit some of my good friends to work with the kids, including saxophonist Kris Jensen.

Our goal was to keep the kids off the streets and in the school’s band. What we discovered were benefits exceeding our greatest expectations. Over the nearly 10-year period, we had no fewer than 20 of our students audition and be accepted to the Middle School Jazz Academy at the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center. Today, many of the PS 178 alumni have gone on to attend and excel in colleges and their respective careers and lives.

After a two-year hiatus, I was contacted by the school’s new principal, Ms. Cooper, and former PS 178 co-worker, Ms. Lamarre.

I am once again honored to have been asked to lead the PS 178 instrumental band program.

For this next chapter of the band’s story, I have recruited some of the best musicians (and educators) with whom I have had the privilege to work (as recording artists, teaching, and performing live). They are: (click their photos for extended bios)

Alex Foster

Saxophone / Woodwinds

Alex Foster

Saxophone / Woodwinds

Alex Foster, tenor and alto saxophonist, is a musical heavyweight famous for his nearly three decades of performances with the “Saturday Night Live” House Band is also a musical director of the Mingus Big Band. 

From Oakland, California, Alex Foster has been part of many of the world’s most influential sounds. Foster has shared the stage with world-class performers including Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Freddie Hubbard, Nat and Cannonball Adderley, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gil Evans, John Scofield, Charles Mingus, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones, Tito Puente, Michael Brecker, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Paul Simon, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen, The Village People, Sister Sledge, Al Green, Johnny Mathis, Diana Ross, and many others. Foster has had his work with the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and the Mingus Big Band nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005. A woodwinds instructor, Foster is also a master player of the clarinet and flute and teaches in master-class workshops up and down the east coast to students from middle school through college.

Valtinho Anastacio

World Percussion

Valtinho Anastacio

World Percussion

Born in Sao Paolo, Brasil, Valtinho’s journey as a musician started as a child, inspired by the very streets he grew up on. This young musician soon realized his love lay with the many percussion instruments that pervaded the music of one of the richest musical cultures on the planet, and slowly, he mastered the congas, the pandeiro, the berimbau, the agogos, the abes, the caixas and more. His voice became the bridge upon which his craft took form. He played with and learned from some of Brasil’s top musicians, including Elis Regina, Wilson Simonal, Djavan, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti.

Valtinho’s time in Tokyo led him to work with Japanese legends such as Terumasa Hino, Kazumi Watanabe. Toki Hidefumi and the luminous Ryuichi Sakamoto, with whom he toured in 1994 on the unforgettable ‘Sweet Revenge’ ticket. A live concert in Nihon Buddokan also sealed his potential as a sessionist and accompanist extraordinaire, and playing with the great Jaco Pastorious was an unforgettable moment. Arriving in New York City turned out to be a career move that continued to hone his craft and extended his experience and repertoire beyond his wildest dreams. Gigs with diverse musicians like Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim, Mongo Santamaria, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Gomez, Kenny Barron, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Astrud Gilberto, Tania Maria, Alex and Eddie Van Halen and the Grammy-winning McCoy Tyner gave this Brasilian musician all the breaks he would ever need, leading him to spend part of his life in a city that lived and breathed music. He once said, “From then on, there were no more u-turns, I was dreaming with eyes wide open.”

Richard Boulger

Brass

Richard Boulger

Brass

Brooklyn’s Richard Boulger received the legacy of trumpet playing and teaching from his father, Richard Boulger, Sr. Boulger has since spent a lifetime studying the art forms of playing the trumpet and flugelhorn with a Who’s-Who list of jazz and musical giants, as well as music composition, and improvisation. 

After completing his BFA from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and Master’s degree at Rutgers University, Boulger became a long-time private student and protege’ of both Freddie Hubbard and Donald Byrd, and studied music composition extensively with Ludmila Uhlela (former chair of Contemporary Music, Manhattan School of Music). Boulger produced numerous albums as a leader and recorded with several diverse Grammy- and award-winning artists such as The Allman Brothers’ Band, Little Louie Vega, “Joe,” Randy Brecker, Joshua Thompson, and John Hicks. Freddie Hubbard declared, “I am very happy and honored to be a witness to a great trumpet player.”

Richard Boulger has taught in over 25 NYC schools and spent nearly ten years teaching his “All-Star Jazz Band” at Brownsville’s PS 178. He is also the founder of the Berkshires’ Summer Jazz Band Day Camp, and teaches private students via Skype and in person in midtown Manhattan as well as at his Crown Heights’ teaching studio.

Charles Blenzing

Piano / Music Composition

Charles Blenzing

Piano / Music Composition

Charles Blenzig is an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and educator. In the mid-80s Blenzig joined the legendary Gil Evans’ Monday Night Orchestra that performed weekly at Sweet Basil Jazz Club. Blenzig has performed with Michael Brecker, Marcus Miller, Bill Evans (saxophonist with Miles Davis), Hiram Bullock, Lew Soloff, Kenwood Dennard, Eddie Gomez, Dave Weckle, Joe Locke, Harvey Mason, Joe Beck, and Italian rapper Jovanotti, among others. Blenzig has been musical director for singer/songwriter Michael Franks since 1990, and for the late Latin jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri. Blenzig has toured extensively throughout the world as a leader and sideman including South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Georgia, Europe and Korea.

Professor Blenzig is a former member of the SUNY Purchase Conservatory Jazz Department faculty along with Jon Faddis, Hal Galper, John Abercrombie and Todd Coolman.

Victor Jones

Drums

Victor Jones

Drums

“Victor Jones is a new breed of outstanding drummer band-leaders....nothing Jones does is ever boring.” Time Out New York. 

Internationally recognized for his consistent, subtle, and stylistic drumming on stage and in the studio, Victor Jones is known as an innovator who is not afraid to bring together different styles and sounds. He has played on hundreds of recordings, played hundreds of live concerts and performed in clubs everywhere on this planet, often as a backing musician for a variety of well-known artists, including Lou Donaldson, Chaka Khan, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz, and many others.

For the past several years, Jones has been recording and performing with his own group, Culture-Versy, effortlessly blending Hip Hop, Urban Soul, Modern Jazz, and Funk. Victor Jones is a leader who understands and plays with every facet of great American music and popular art forms.

We are asking for your support and need your help to resume our work with the PS 178 Band. Your generosity will once again help give the children of Brownsville, Brooklyn’s PS 178 a chance to learn and thrive with the POWER OF MUSIC.

My heartfelt thanks to each of you for your support!!

With gratitude,

Richard


 

Please make your tax- deductible check donations payable to:
P.S. 178 School Band Bank Education Account

St. Clair Mckelway
2163 Dean Street
Brooklyn, NY 11233