Garfield High jazz band director to be honored Oct. 12 for accomplishments as educator, musician
Information from the Earshot Jazz Festival website
Clarence Acox Jr., director of the jazz program at Garfield High School, will be honored for his accomplishments Oct. 12 at Benaroya Hall during the opening day of the Earshot Jazz Festival. The renowned Garfield Jazz Ensemble – which he leads – along with special guests will pay tribute to him during the Oct. 12 concert.
Acox, left, is an instrumental figure in the Seattle music scene, both as an educator and as musician-performer. He has nurtured young musicians for the past 35 years as Garfield's jazz band director.
Also in appreciation of Acox’s accomplishments and dedication, the Seattle Mayor’s Office has proclaimed Oct. 12 as "Clarence Acox Day in Seattle." Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith will present the award at the evening’s celebration.
A decorated man and accomplished musician, educator and drummer, Acox has many awards, including:
• the Educator of the Year award by DownBeat in 2001;
• the Seattle Music Educator’s Association Outstanding Music Educator Award in 2004;
• a Mayor’s Arts Award in 2007; and
• the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award from Seattle’s ArtsFund in 2011.
In 1994, Acox was inducted into the Seattle Jazz Hall of Fame, and in 1995 co-founded the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. He performs weekly with the Legacy Quartet (formerly, the Floyd Standifer Quartet) at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant, now for more than two decades, and directs Seattle University’s jazz ensemble and teaches with Seattle JazzEd.
A native of New Orleans, Acox came to Seattle in 1971 after graduating from Southern University, when he was recruited by Garfield High School to revive its music program. He began developing the jazz program from scratch at Garfield in 1979.
From humble beginnings, the Garfield High School jazz ensemble has gone on to receive national attention and achieve unprecedented success. Garfield has been selected as finalists eleven times in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition and Festival in New York City, the most prestigious national high school jazz competition in the United States.
They have brought four first-place trophies back to Seattle (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010) and garnered second (2002, 2008) and third place (2006) finishes.
Under Acox’s direction, the jazz ensemble has also swept every major competition on the West Coast, including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, and Oregon’s Mt. Hood Jazz Festival.
Notable Garfield graduates include Clark Gayton, Anne Drummond, Tatum Greenblatt and the Marriott brothers, to name just a few.
Acox wrote in a June 23, 2002, op-ed for the Seattle Times: “Music inspires. It is both emotional and intellectual, and because of that it provides a powerful strategy to get young people ‘hooked’ on learning.”
Seattle's annual Earshot Jazz Festival runs Oct. 12 through Nov. 4 with more than 50 distinctive concert events all around the city.
One of the events will feature the Roosevelt and Ballard high school jazz bands, two of Seattle's most acclaimed jazz bands. They will take the stage for one night of amazing music at the Town Hall, 119 8th Ave. The Roosevelt/Ballard concert is scheduled for 7-9:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2.
Tribute to Clarence Acox
with Garfield High School Band and special guests
7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
Benaroya Hall, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
200 University St.
$16 Earshot members and seniors