The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra has an active education program. One of our ongoing projects which takes place every June are the Honour Jazz Bands. Auditions are welcomed from all over Manitoba and we put together three bands: Junior, Intermediate and Senior. The students get together two weekends in a row to rehearse and have sectionals with local professionals.
The Honour Jazz Band holds a final concert as part of the Winnipeg Jazz Festival. We have asked theCo-ordinator and Directors of this project to let you know how things went this year…
Greg Crowe - Coordinator, WJO Honour Jazz Bands
"As coordinator for the WJO Honour Jazz Bands, I am proud to announce that another set of incredible performances were showcased at the West End Cultural Centre as part of the TD Winnipeg Jazz Festival. The WJO makes many conscious efforts to connect with its community and the young people that call it their home. The Honour Jazz Band event is one that brings young musicians together from around the province to engage in a collective effort to study advanced repertoire, expand their skill set and learn from one another. Under the guidance of educators Joel Green (WJO), Karl Kohut (U of M), Andrew Littleford (WJO), Alexis Silver (WJO, Sisler High School), Dan Steinhilber (Transcona Collegiate), Jeni Taylor (WJO) and Lauren Teterenko (WJO) the students worked very hard to produce a thrilling performance. It is with sincere excitement that I look forward to the future of this gathering and have great hopes that more and more young musicians will aim to take part."
Jeni Taylor - Junior Honour Jazz Band Director
"The junior band broke the ice with a jazz party (moving through the room, having solo ‘conversations’). Every student played a solo in rehearsal, and 12 played solos on the concert. It is inspiring that they were able to achieve that level of comfort and safety that quickly, and exciting to see how their jazz vocabulary will expand as they continue to work on their improvisational skills. They did a great job with the repertoire, and were justifiably impressed by the older students in the intermediate and senior bands. Hopefully they will each go back to their schools inspired to share the jazz gospel with their whole band program!!"
Alexis Silver - Intermediate Honour Jazz Band Director
"It is inspiring to see how quickly these young musicians come together as a community of learners. We begin the first rehearsal not knowing one another and never having played together as an ensemble before. The next thing you know, we are performing an amazing concert on stage for Jazz Fest and have made friends to last a lifetime."
Dan Steinhilber - Senior Honour Jazz Band Director
“The Senior Jazz Band students came to rehearsal prepared to eagerly tackle their repertoire. Rehearsals alternated between intense focus and laughter, and it was gratifying to see the relationships formed throughout the rehearsal and performance process. Many of the students traded contact information and several were talking about creating new bands together as our time wrapped up after the concert. This program has given our students the gift of life-long friends and music at the same time!”
Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra (WJO) is Canada’s first community-based, non-profit professional jazz orchestra. Founded in 1997 (registered charity in 2000), the WJO has matured to become an important part of Winnipeg’s cultural landscape, reflected in the ongoing support the organization receives from the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Winnipeg Foundation, and other sponsors. The mandate of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra is to be an instrumental force in the promotion and development of big band jazz in Manitoba and beyond, through performance, composition, recording and education.