In the lead up to the 2016 edition of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Coastal Jazz asked various members of the jazz "family" to share their thoughts about artists who will perform at the festival. Today, Flora Ware, Education and Outreach Coordinator, reflects upon the next generation of talent.
I have had the pleasure of being the Coastal Jazz Education & Outreach Coordinator for five years, and every year I eagerly await the first rehearsal of the TD High School Jazz Intensive to meet the returning and new faces of the youth big band. I love seeing how the band changes from year, witnessing the improvement and growth in the musicians, and the friendships that are formed.
The guest conductors always choose music that challenges; really pushes the youth beyond traditional swing music to gain a broader understanding of contemporary and experimental scores. This is expected since the guest conductors are alumni of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). And truly this is what I see every year: young talents enjoying an honour band program that nurtures them to become creative musicians. Cellist and composer Tomeka Reid will be leading the ensemble for the fourth consecutive year in 2016.
The morning of the final performance, the teens gather backstage and it hits them that they are playing in front of a huge crowd, headlining a main stage at an International Jazz Festival. Excited, nervous, tapping their instruments and reviewing the charts, I watch them get ready.
I cheer from the sidelines as they play the pieces better than ever. It’s always a wonderful experience. My other favourite part is giving them the scholarship and bursary cheques, courtesy of TD Bank and also the late and great Dal Richards Foundation. These kids really deserve it.
Tomeka Reid will be performing with her quartet as part of the Innovation Series at the Ironworks at 9:30 pm on Sunday, July 3rd.