Recap: Inaugural Progressions Nucleo at Santee Elementary - San Jose Jazz

Recap: Inaugural Progressions Nucleo at Santee Elementary

In this guest post, Progressions Director Julie Rinard recaps what students from our three Progressions schools experienced in their first "nucleo," a community event that brought our programs together for a morning of cultural expression and collaboration. Below, she recaps the excitement that ensued. Saturday, May 3, 2014, 9:18 am – I expected to be the first one to arrive for the inaugural Progressions Nucleo as I approached the Santee Elementary School parking lot Saturday morning. To my surprise, there were already five kids standing outside the school gate waiting to be let in. When I asked the kids why they had arrived so early, they responded that their parents were working and had needed to drop them off. Over the course of the next hour, over 75 students, parents, siblings and friends from all three Progressions schools filled the cafeteria to experience their first ever Nucleo. They were greeted by a sign that read, "Santee welcomes all Progressions families to our school! We value Teamwork, Respect and Fun!" The Nucleo began with community-building exercises, the highlight being Los Machetes, a Mexican circle folk dance using sticks that was led by Progressions staff. After a brief demonstration, youth and parents were encouraged to join in. By the end of the activity, I was joined by approximately 30 dancers and the audience was all smiles. At the end of the Nucleo, one mother shared that she had performed Los Machetes at a Mother’s Day performance in Mexico when she was 6 years old, and doing the dance had brought fond memories of home flooding back. Nucleo-Dance-Circle Next, families were treated to a live performance by the San Jose Jazz High School All Stars Combo, which stopped by the Nucleo before heading to the Mountain View High School Jazz Festival. In between numbers, members of the combo spoke about their experience as developing musicians. One member in particular shared that music has been invaluable, explaining, “when I was young, I had a lot of anxiety and found it very difficult to express myself. When I began studying music, I discovered a new portal for self-expression that was beyond words and outside the realm of social convention.” After the live performance, all band students came together in a large circle for their first ensemble experience; they were surrounded by expectant parents and siblings. Younger kids went into a separate room for singing activities and games. By the end of the half hour together, all 35 band students had been introduced to each other and had their first ensemble experience with Hot Cross Buns; the younger kids had learned the chorus to “Ain’t It Great to be Crazy”; and the Progressions third graders had sung their favorite song, "Mrs. Jenny Wren," for their younger counterparts. The event closed with homemade tamales and socializing. HSAS-Combo The next Nucleo is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 and will feature a special Mother’s Day performance by the Bridges Academy Concert Band. (Bridges Academy is the neighborhood junior high that many Progressions students will attend when they finish elementary school.) ****** Still wondering what a Nucleo is? A Nucleo is a regularly scheduled weekend community building/music-making event that includes the following: -- A chance for the families of Progressions students to experience first-hand what the program is all about. -- An opportunity for Progressions students from neighboring schools to meet and rehearse together. -- A time to enjoy great performances by student and professional musicians from our community -- A time to connect by sharing food & drink with classmates, family members, local musicians and community volunteers If you are interested in being a part of Progressions, please contact me directly at For more information on the Progressions initiative, please visit the Progressions page on our site.  San Jose Jazz's education programs are supported by Southwest Airlines. SouthwestAirlines_small_124

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