My name is Emmerson Sutton, I am 13 years old, and I am the first English performer to play at the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. Louis Armstrong was a prestigious figure in the genre of jazz music, arguably one of the greatest trumpeters ever. He is distinguished for being the first great jazz soloist as well as being a musical ambassador for the U.S. State Department. During my three weeks, I was able to participate in a series of masterclasses with Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval and Marlon Jordon together with many young instrumentalists which has been an out of this world experience for me.
Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and died in Corona, Queens, New York City. During a time of great oppression and racial segregation black and white people had to use separate facilities because of Jim Crow laws. The black struggle is real and a plan has been put in place to hold us back and keep us down. Despite the hardship faced jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Duke Ellington were extremely popular amongst white audiences.
I started to learn the trumpet at the tender age of eight at Brindishe Green Primary School and continued my lessons at Trinity Church of England Secondary School in Lewisham. Since then, I have endured many wonderful experiences whether it was playing with Lewisham Music Brass Ensemble or the London Philharmonic Orchestra and playing at exceptional places like The Royal Academy of Music. The Coronavirus pandemic allowed me to experience the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp because I was home schooling. I had to take part on zoom, which was sometimes challenging but a pleasant encounter meeting many aspiring musicians and great teachers.
Just like Louis young people yearn for a good start in life, having a head start way above and beyond the school curriculum has given me chances and access to endless possibilities. I am currently working on my Bronze Arts Award and this musical review forms part of Section C & D. You will learn more about the life and times of Louis D. Armstrong during my Silver and Gold arts award application.
From this musical odyssey, I hope to encourage the younger generation to take a musical interest or select another area of the arts and use it to their advantage whether it is playing at a sports event to performing in a church, knowledge is power. With it, we can empower and achieve success not only for ourselves but the people around us. I aim to engage, educate, enlighten and excite just like Louis Armstrong did!
Sincere and special thanks to Elaine Grant of Mousetrap Theatre Projects who told me to complete the application form.
Emmerson Sutton - Trinity Church of England Secondary School