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Derrick Tate

GI Jam: Thursday, July 12, 2018

Derrick Tate is a young Jazz and Contemporary Saxophonist as well as a High School Music Teacher. Through performance and educational guidance, he expresses his passion and appreciation for music, the arts, and what it represents to all who hold music close to them. As a young boy with music in his school system since the age of 10, Derrick understands that this may not be accessible to every child just as it was for him throughout school. With this in mind, his mission is to keep musical integrity alive and instill that importance into the public and the youth.

Derrick is a 2015 graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. While working and training to be a professionally licensed educator, he stayed active in the music scene in Boston as well as his hometown of Chicago. While in Boston, he joined Berklee’s “Jazz Revelations” Record Label as a college freshman, giving him the opportunity to host local performances with his past group “English Tom in the Bookstore”. As a native and current resident of Chicago, Derrick represents himself as an experienced bandleader and cooperating band member throughout the city and suburbs. He leads such active bands as “The Rhythm Section”, “The Derrick Tate Connection”, and is an active member of the “Pullman Jazz Society”. He has performed locally throughout the city of Chicago for various music venues, private events, and festivals such as Lake Meadows Art Fair and Itasca Fest. In Boston, he is still an active general business band member during the spring and summer seasons as a saxophonist for corporate and public events.

As an educator, Derrick is a General Music teacher at Prosser Career Academy, part of Chicago Public Schools. As a relatively new teacher, he strives to bring modern ideas and influences to the classroom to engage the students and encourage new ideas in their musical endeavors. Just as well, he currently provides private lessons to those who are interested in the Chicago area or through Skype anywhere around the world.

The musical journey does not stop even after the career is set. Derrick is always open to collaborate and grow with musicians, writes, producers, and any artists who care for their craft. To make a difference, we music take initiative and first make it happen!


Bucket Buddies (Ages 5-8)

An introduction to rhythm, notation, and basic percussion techniques. This fun and interactive session is perfect for the future drummer.



Expand your range and increase lip flexibility while building that great brass tone. This session guarantees success for all students.

Woodwind Workout


Increase endurance, articulation, tone quality, and finger technique in a session that is sure to place you at the front of your section.

More Summer Camps

Rhythm Section Camp

A daily course offering reinforcement of fundamentals and technique development. This camp will explore skills associated with reading chord changes, understanding various musical styles, and interpretation.

Writers Workshop with poet, Quentin D. Wright

June 25, 2018-June 28, 2018


Learn creative writing techniques while exploring the depths of your imagination.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events.

Mario Abney


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

FAT TUESDAYS: Abney Effect Brass Band and Modern New Orleans Jazz Revue.

Fat Tuesdays, Promontory’s monthly New Orleans brass band party, features the best Big Easy music in the world on the first Tuesday of every month for a low $10 entry. Gumbo in the restaurant and classic New Orleans drink, Brugal USA Rum Hurricanes, in the venue make it Mardi Gras twelve months a year in Hyde Park.

We are excited to launch this series with the great MARIO ABNEY

Trumpeter, composer, multi instrumentalist, band leader, master musician and regular on the HBO series Tremé, Mario Abney is coming live and in full effect from the Big Easy to The Promontory with the Abney Effect Brass Band and Modern New Orleans Jazz Revue.

Mario first developed his chops in his hometown Chicago, listening and playing at Fred Anderson's legendary Velvet Lounge. Often compared to the genius of Miles Davis and leadership and insight of Art Blakely, Mario fuses the Art of Jazz music with the soul and freedom of his current home and birth place of the music, New Orleans. Mario Abney and the Abney Effect embody the spirit of New Orleans and instrumental excellence.

Abney has been featured in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, the Rochester Jazz Festival, the Saratoga Jazz Festival, and many other prominent music festivals. The HBO star from the series Tremé delivers the experience of a lifetime and brings the spirit of Big Easy right to your soul.

Mario Abney has shared the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Cyril Neville, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Nicholas Payton, and many others. Mario is a nationally recognized musician and independent recording artist and can be seen live in New Orleans and various other venues around the nation.


GI Jam: Leon Q. All

June 14, 2018 6pm-8pm

Jon Faddis said “This boy can play!!!”  Wynton Marsalis said “He can swing.”  Bone Thugs N Harmony, El DeBarge, and Eric Roberson calls him “Chicago’s Finest.”  Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Ice Cube, and Ronald Isley call this “young lion” of a musician “The Truth.”  This whirlwind musical master from The Windy City has been captivating international audiences for the past 20 years as the most versatile trumpet player of choice for today’s stars.  The person that they are referring to is none other than Chicago’s very own Leon Q. Allen.
This product of the vibrant Windy City music scene attributes his success as one of the most internationally requested trumpeters to his musical upbringing.  As a child, Leon Q. was heavily exposed to multitudes of music, ranging from jazz, blues, and R&B to Afro-Latin and other international forms.  His desire to become a prime example of complete musical immersion led him to take up the trumpet as his primary instrument, and study music academically.  This relentless pursuance led him to Columbia College Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jazz Studies.  Since then, Leon Q. has demonstrated his musical prowess both on stage and in the classroom as a guest educator and international master class instructor.  As an educator, Leon Q. was awarded lifetime international artist-in- residence credentials by El Conservatorio Musico de Jose Maria Ochoa in Holguin, Cuba, under license by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Holguin Province, Cuba. Also, Leon Q. is the current Jazz Band Director/Coordinator of Jazz Studies for Kankakee, Illinois School District 111.
Since his entrance into the professional arena in 1994, L.A. has given his gift of music to audiences around the world.  Leon Q., in his personal, versatile way, has shared the stage with such dynamic musical icons such as Common, Kanye West, James Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Carl Thomas, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Drake, The Isley Brothers, and countless others.   The world has not seen such a versatile musical force with the power to inspire people, like Leon Q. Allen.  Simply put, Leon Q. Allen will truly move your heart, mind, body, soul, and spirit through the powerful gift of music that he bestows upon the masses.Orginally from Ft Lauderdale, FL, Kimberly Branch graduated from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor's in music education and jazz studies. She has a passion for music education and is currently the director of bands at Edison Middle school. Under her direction, her bands have placed first in numerous jazz festivals and at the Crescent Classics in New Orleans. Her band was also selected to perform at the 70th Annual Midwest Clinic and the Illinois Music Education Conference. 

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Jazz.Academy

 Jazz Academy - Summer 

Summer Jazz Academy is a two-week, full-day (8:30am - 5:00pm) intensive camp designed for music students of all levels, ages 10-17.  

Camp runs from Monday, July 16 through Friday, July 27, 2018 - Monday through Friday - at Chicago State University.

In addition, students are exposed to other artistic disciplines, civic engagement, and college and career counseling.  Each day is capped off with a professional performance by guest artists. The program is taught by world-class musicians with goals to help sustain an important art form, provide crucial life skills,and open doors to higher education. 

Questions? Contact

Sarah Pietlicki, Program Manager

Tel. (603) 275.2905 text or call


GI Jams

Every Thursday 6pm-8pm (Food Provided)

The GI Jams are designed to give students a practical and educational platform to harness and develop their individual skills while learning professionalism and performance etiquette while sharing the stage with some of the greatest musicians and educators in the Midwest.

Each week a different professional musician will host the GI Jams. The set-lists are made available one week prior to the GI Jam.  Students may sign up for no more than 2 selections and may add their name as a "Stand BY" on as many selections as they desire.

If you are a professional musician who would like to volunteer at the Griffin Institute by hosting a Jam Session, please contact us at (708) 973-4354 or educate@thegriffininstitute.org

GI JAM: Derrick Tate

Thursday, June 12, 2018

St. Thomas
Blue Monk
Strasbourg St. Denis
Tenor Madness
All The Things You Are
Little Sunflower

GI Spotlight

Our CEO/President is named a Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Grammy Award for Music Educator. Congratulations Dr. Griffin

GI Student, Jamal Cole, inducted into the National Honor Society


On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Jamal received a great honor by being inducted into the National Honor Society. Jamal is a Junior at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, IL. under the musical direction of Valeaka Freeman. We are extremely proud of this phenomenal young man.

Contact Us

The Griffin Institute of Performing Arts

14200 Chicago Rd Unit 117, Dolton, Illinois 60419, United States

(708) 973-4354

Drop us a line!