Jazz Legend Wynton Marsalis Surprises Steve Massey at Foxborough HS Pops

(photo by Frank Stewart)

By his own admission, there are very few moments when Foxborough High School Music Director Steve Massey is speechless. One of those moments took place Sunday afternoon when a jazz legend made a guest appearance at Massey’s final Pops concert before his retirement at the end of the school year.

Wynton Marsalis, whose accolades include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Medal of Arts, and nine Grammys, surprised Massey at one of the biggest events of the years for the Foxborough music program.

“I just want to speak to the depth of love and respect I have for Mr. Massey, what he represents to our culture and who he is as a man,” Marsalis said. I told him if I had to walk here, I would have walked here. That’s the type of respect I have for this man.”

Marsalis described Massey in three attributes – integrity, love, and soul and generosity of spirit. He said when Massey walks into the room, “All of our music is brought into the room with him because of the level of his integrity and the depth of it.”

The way that his bands perform and his will to sacrifice are seen in his love of the music, Marsalis said.

Finally, there was soul and generosity of spirit.

“Soul means when you walk into a room, people feel better when you leave than before you came in,” he said. It is an honor and privilege for me to come here today and to recognize him in front of the community, in front of the kids and I want you to know the depth of love I have for this man,” he said.

As noted by Marsalis, Massey’s career has earned respect and admiration from music directors, teachers, musicians, and members of the music community around the world.

“I represent all of them when I say more than a job well done, the definition of the job. Thank you for all you’ve contributed. We love you very much and deeply and nd you were great,” he said.

Afterwards, a surprised Massey expressed gratitude for the jazz legend’s appearance.

“He was very kind to me and I feel the same way about him. He has changed the face of jazz education in America and his talent and artistry is unmatched,” Massey said.

By Daniel Libon
Source: Foxborough Patch

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