Monday, July 9, 2012

South Delta Jazz Workshop 2012 is done!

The 9th annual South Delta Jazz Workshop is over and it has been great.  It seems cliche to say it was the most successful event ever, but I really think it was.   We had absolutely no problems with students and only minor logistical hiccups with facilities and gear. The concerts all came off very well, both from musical and audience numbers perspectives.  I couldn't be happier.  The community of people that participates in the event as audience members, faculty, and students has really solidified into a cool extended family.  At this time of the year when people ask me about next year, I usually say "We'll see".  This year I feel quite happy to say that we will certainly be doing the 10th annual SDJW in 2013.  I'm already scheming for something special on the 10th anniversary.  Below are some pictures from our final concert at the Delta Hospital Grounds.  More pictures to come soon once Stephen Robb has a moment to upload them....

My heartfelt thanks are extended to all who participated in the event.  Together we made something beautiful happen!

Brad Muirhead (trombone), James Dekker (tenor sax), Bill Clark (trumpet) and Hazel Lam (tenor).  I think they were playing Dave Holland's tune "Hoimecoming".  We had some really advanced students this year.

My son, Isaac, on bass and his cousin, Eric, on piano obviously enjoying themselves on the gig.

Don Burkett (bass and camp chiropractor), Isabelle Burrows (flute) and len Aruliah (soprano sax) at Petra's Cafe jam session.

just a few of the players involved int he final F Blues blowout at petra's jam session - perfect weather as always!

noon hour concert at DCMS with Bill Clark (trumpet), Spencer hall (bass), and Mili Hong (drums).  I think I am behind Bill somewhere....Miles is watching over us!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 4

Day 4 was a great success.  I am too exhausted to blog much about it but the brief update is...

We had a wonderful noon hour concert featuring Bill Clark in which we played some standards and ended by paying musical tribute to Miles Davis'  "In a Silent Way".  When teaching was done, we had a brief rehearsal, scarfed some pizza and set up for a big evening concert with the faculty septet playing my arrangements.  The evening show came off very well with quite a large audience at All Saints Anglican Church.  The day went 13 hours from start to finish.  I am always amazed that the faculty are able to play at all by the time we get to Friday night. The students too were absolutely exhausted by the end of the teaching day and for them to come to an evening concert as well was a pretty big accomplishment.  I think going 'over the top' into a music overlaod state is a good thing for them to experience.  At the intermission, my daughter actually said she was amazed that I could keep going after such a big day and that she finally appreciated how busy and intense my life sometimes is - what a thing to hear from a 12-year old girl!

Final student concert/picnic extravaganza at Delta Hospital grounds from 12-3 today.  With luck the students will be too tired to be nervous, but energized enough to have a good time and play well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day Three

Day 3 of the South Delta Jazz Workshop is done and dusted.
The third day of the workshiop is always special beacuse you see students that have become completely immersed and comfortable with music.   Even when you give them a break for lunch they want to keep playing!  Music ceases to become a separate activity - music becomes an integral part of being like breathing. What an incredible thing to see.

We had a great noon concert featuring our our bass facvulty memebr, Rob Kohler.  We played some standards, one of Rob's tunes, and one by his son, Sam.  The concert also featured a "3-bass hit" with Rob and our two bass TAs, Wynston and Spencer, playing "Blues in the Closet".  Following the day's teaching we headed out to the hosue of Bob Miller, one of our adult students, for a nice did before the Petra's Cafe jam.  Bob, a tenor player, has been participating in our workshop since the very beginning and is a lovely person.  For the past few years he has been inviting us to his beautiful house beside the beach for a moment of physical and mental refreshment in the middle of our 12-hour day.  The jam at Petra's Cafe was very successful as always, with almost all of our students in attendance.  There weren't as many players from the community this year but that is ok; we have so many students this year it was a challenge to find opportunities for all of them to play a couple of tunes.

Today is our last full day of teaching as Saturday is a short rehearsal and final concert.  Tonight we will have a faculty septet concert at All Saints Anglican Church in ladner.  I have written some arrangements of my tunes for the show and I'm looking forward to hearing how they work out.  Music is at 7:30, tickets are $10 at the door.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day Two of South Delta Jazz Workshop done!

Day two is finished and I am ready for bed.  Classes were really good today with students getting used to doing music for 7 hours in a row and most logistical snafus ironed out. We had a great noon-hour show planned by Len doing material from our "Recyclers" project. This is a band in which we do a whole bunch contrafacts (new melodies on old chord progressions) written by Len and me and today also one by Rob Kohler.  We took the unprecedented step of moving the concert out of the community centre hall and cramming everyone into the largest room in the Music School.  It was a little tight for 50 people and I'm glad the fire marshall didn't show up, but the acoustics were so much better.  Music is easier when you can hear. Why didn't we do this years ago?  Following a day of teaching and playing we went out for pizza wand then headed over to Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen for an evening gig with our older students.  Rob and I played drums - Rob on even-8s material and me on the swinging stuff.  Nice to play drums for a while as the sun set behind the hill. The weather turned out perfectly and the park was just beautiful with lots of ducks and big carp in the pond.

Pictures to follow soon - I promise.

Tomorrow is another day of teaching, a faculty part at Bob Miller's house (one of our adult student who lives by the beach in Boundary Bay), and then a jam session from 7-9 at Petra's Arts Cafe.  Life is good.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 1 of South Delta Jazz Workshop

Today we began the 9th annual South Delta Jazz Workshop.  This year we have a very full load of students and are running six student bands all day, every day. Some students have come for many years (a few of the adults since the very beginning) and some are showing up for the first time.  I find both groups and all the variations in between equally interesting and challenging.  It is always fun to hear how people have improved and grown musically over the space of a year, or to hear students who are just at the beginning of their musical journey.   Some of the younger kids have grown so fast I hardly recognized them from last year.   Both of my children are involved in the workshop for their second year as is Rob Kohler's son and this adds another dimension to the experience of teaching and organizing the workshop.  When I started this thing way back in 2003, the kids were just toddling around and going to preschool and kindergarten.  Now they are teenagers learning to play jazz!  Our faculty members have become like a family over the years as well - a very weird family maybe - but I really enjoy seeing the different ways that they approach playing and teaching the music.    

The first day was a success overall.  There were some shaky moments in our noon hour concert with missing charts and funny transpositions, musicians trying to remember how to play in the giant community centre hall where we hold those events etc... but people pulled through somehow and made music.  The best thing was that the students had a great time and I have rarely seen a happier group on the first day.  I didn't have one student in my beginning ensemble who was afraid to improvise. Everyone just jumped right into it.  A few students had to be moved around to bands which suited their abilities better, but generally there was a good fit in each group.  This is always a tricky thing to achieve when we don't know many of them and don't audition them beforehand.  I guess my mixture of little bit of luck and lots of careful planning worked out this time.

I will try to post a short message each day.  If you are reading this and feel like coming out to Ladner to hear some noon hour concerts or our other concert events on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, please check our website for details