Songwriter and music educator Jazzy Ash and her jazz band invite the whole family to move, sing, celebrate, and learn about the music and culture of New Orleans at the Moss Arts Center on Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards will perform in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Called “one of the most talked about children’s music artists” by NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Ash’s music encourages kids and grown-ups to celebrate the music of New Orleans as part of the American folk music heritage.

In concert, Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards perform originals like “Throw Me Something Mista,” as well as jazz standards including “When the Saints Go Marching In” and Louis Armstrong’s “Heebie Jeebies,” in front of gorgeous projected images of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. 

Ash’s latest album, “Swing Set,” features classic songs, rhythms, and rhymes that celebrate a tradition handed down by African-American children, adults, and musicians from the mid-19th century to the early jazz era, arranged and enhanced for a new generation.

“The history behind these songs and rhymes is so rich,” explained Ash. “As I was researching these and sharing my arrangements with my students and teachers in my workshops, I realized how many generations of people have been personally impacted by these traditional tunes. Many of these songs and games were largely carried along by little girls on the playground throughout time, and it’s not often that we celebrate the work of women. I wanted to convey the grit and soul of that grassroots heritage with these recordings.”

Ash grew up influenced by the music from her mother's hometown of New Orleans, as well as by her father's Trinidadian culture. She trained professionally in music and theatre through her high school and college years and holds a degree in early childhood education.

Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards have performed at Lincoln Center and Symphony Space in New York, Getty Center in California, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Ash continues to focus on education, regularly teaching performing arts to children and music education to educators. Her music has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and on NPR, and continues to top the children’s music charts.

Related events

Children ages 8 and up can join Jazzy Ash for the free workshop, “You Can Play Uke,” on Oct. 5, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center Cube. In this workshop, children will learn basic music skills that get them playing the ukulele right away. After mastering a few simple chords, students are given tips and tools on how to play a variety of songs on this incredibly versatile instrument. The workshop is free, but to guarantee your spot, register through the box office.

A limited number of ukuleles will be available for participants’ use. Attendees who have ukuleles are encouraged to bring them to the workshop.


Tickets for the performance are $15 for general admission and $5 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

While Virginia Tech students can always attend any Moss Arts Center performance for only $10, the center also offers free last-minute rush tickets for students who sign up for text notifications. To receive these notifications, text “arts” to 31996. Availability of rush tickets varies by performance and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last in the box office. Virginia Tech ID will be required for admission.


Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.