Stories » In 'Bud, Not Buddy' Terence Blanchard writes serious music for high school musicians to perform / Washington Post

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In 'Bud, Not Buddy' Terence Blanchard writes serious music for high school musicians to perform / Washington Post

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For Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard, composing a jazz concert based on the children's novel "Bud, Not Buddy" meant more than just telling Christopher Paul Curtis's colorful Depression-era tale in musical terms. It meant writing serious music that high school kids could perform. "I'm not trying to give them a free ride," Blanchard said by phone recently from Cleveland, where he was on tour. "I want them to have to gear up to perform this. But at the same time, it should be fun for them to play."

Students won't be performing the score when "Bud, Not Buddy" makes its debut this weekend in the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater. That's the longer-life goal for this project. But Blanchard did get to test-drive his material with student musicians in England during a workshop as he wrote. "They got up for it," he says. Blanchard won't be playing, either, with the dozen or so professional musicians performing his score. The music helps tell Curtis's story of a plucky 10-year-old orphan (played by Justin Weaks) who is convinced that the father he never met is a cranky Michigan musician (Frankie Faison) who leads a popular jazz outfit.

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