In 2002 Melissa Walker founded the Jazz House Kids and, with her husband Christian McBride, started a program "to help students embark on a journey of musical creativity and learn about jazz's cultural and international legacy." Over the years the program has continued to grow and has become one of the leading music programs in the country. Not only is the program for kids aged 8 and up, but for those big kids who are still young at heart, there are programs geared for adults as well.
The first Montclair Jazz Festival took place on a small grass stage in 2010 in Nishuane Park and featured summer workshop students and faculty. Over the years the festival continued to grow to include renowned jazz artist from around the world. This year the location of the festival moved to downtown Montclair. The main street of Montclair was anchored at both ends with large stages and in between were artisans with various products and food. Also, there were two smaller stages for students and alumni to perform. The family friendly free festival started on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with a small audience but as the day went on, the crowd swelled to the thousands and none were disappointed with the stellar line up of artists: