Kevin Eubanks brings music to conference focused on youth

Kevin Eubanks plays his guitar at the Conference on Youth at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Oct. 1, 2015.
The Conference on Youth, which was at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Oct. 1, 2015, provides tools for youth workers.
The Conference on Youth, which was at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Oct. 1, 2015, provides tools for youth workers.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A group with the mission to provide training and support to youth workers held its annual Conference on Youth at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Thursday.

Allen Superior Court’s Great KIDS make Great COMMUNITIES program brought in a few key note speakers who focused on family and community involvement in education, the impact of technology on children’s health and how music is a tool that can connect everyone.

The speaker who focused on music is a familiar face from ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.’ Kevin Eubanks was a guitar player in the show’s band for 18 years. His visit to the Summit City included talking about his work as Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute’s national Jazz in the Classroom program, a workshop at IPFW with young Jazz musicians and a performance with the IPFW Jazz Ensemble.

During the conference, Eubanks talked about growing up in Philadelphia- and how music came to be an important part of his life. Since leaving ‘The Tonight Show ,’ Eubanks has has the opportunity to do a variety of things. It was his first time talking at a conference such as this; he said he usually is speaking to an audience of musicians, not youth workers. He said the vibe at the Conference on Youth was very welcoming.

Key note speaker Kevin Eubanks talks to youth workers at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Oct.1, 2015.
Key note speaker Kevin Eubanks talks to youth workers at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Oct.1, 2015.

“I get to experience a lot of new things, like today… I get to get involved in different things, different conferences… It kind of just opened up my perception a lot more,” he said.

When talking about why music is important to youth, he cautioned that students leave their ambitions behind.

“It’s not about music- it’s about you. You come first and the music follows. If you do a good job with what’s in front of you, if you pay attention to the people around you, if you listen to the person next to you, it’s music.”

He explained that music is a part of how we communicate every day.

“If music is anything, music is just connective tissue. It’ connects everything… You can go all over the world and you don’t have to speak the language or anything and people have music.”

Adding before he left, “I can’t wait to communicate with the Jazz band tonight.”

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Auer Performance Hall. Admission is $15 for Adults.

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