Music students from the Island and mainland are performing at the West Coast Jazz Festival at VIU on April 30 and May 1. Pictured here are the Alberni District Secondary Junior Combo, Brentwood College Junior Rock Band, West Coast Jazz Festival Grade 12 All-Star Combo and Timberline Howlin’ Wolves R&B Band (clockwise from top left). (Photos submitted)

Jazz, R&B and rock music students descend on VIU for West Coast Jazz Festival

Selected students will advance to Musicfest Canada Finals in Ottawa in May

Around 1,200 jazz, rock, and rhythm and blues students from 17 public and private high schools and middle schools from across Vancouver Island and one from the mainland, are coming to Nanaimo for the annual West Coast Jazz Festival.

The adjudicated event, which takes place at Vancouver Island University on April 30 and May 1, will determine which students get to advance to Musicfest Canada Finals next month in Ottawa. Awards and scholarships are also on the line. Nanaimo schools include Nanaimo District Secondary School, Wellington Secondary School, and Hammond Bay Elementary School.

Sarah Falls has been the festival chair since 1997. She said she expects a strong showing from the Island musicians.

“Nanaimo has terrific band programs,” she said. “They’re all exceptional. Nanaimo, Qualicum, Port Alberni, Campbell River, Comox, Victoria – there’s a lot of really great music happening.”

Performances are open to the public and take place all day long with the bands in Malaspina Theatre and the combos in the VIU choral room. There are also four feature concerts at Malaspina Theatre: The VIU Big Band on April 30 at 11:45 a.m. and a Grade 12 all-star combo on May 1 at 11:45 a.m. On both days the adjudicator’s combo plays at 12:30 p.m.

The adjudicators for this year from Nanaimo are Nanaimo Musicians’ Association Big Band director Bryan Stovell, saxophonist Christine Jensen and bassist Ken Lister, Victoria-based saxophonist Ryan Oliver and drummer Kelby MacNayr and Edmonton trombonist Craig Brenan.

Although the festival used to be exclusively jazz, Falls said they brought in R&B 12 years ago and this is the fourth year rock groups are included. She said some schools have rock band programs and festival gives those students a chance to perform in a festival setting.

“There might be students that are in jazz programs at the university level and the reality is many of those students from jazz programs end up playing in R&B bands and rock bands and it’s great for the kids to see that they can do all those things,” Falls said.

Falls said participating in festivals benefits the students by giving them a level of quality for which to strive, which she said makes everyone improve.

“If you have a basketball team, you practise all the time but it’s really rewarding to be able to go to games,” she said. “Of course with jazz bands you’re rehearsing all the time and you have concerts for parents, but it is really rewarding for them to have something to work towards and also a standard to work towards.”

WHAT’S ON … West Coast Jazz Festival comes to Malaspina Theatre and the VIU choral room on April 30 starting at 8:50 a.m. and May 1 starting at 8 a.m. Admission free to all events. Click here for more information.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Say no to plastic straws

Straws make drinking frappuccinos easier, but they kill sea creatures, says letter writer

Crews putting out one of the first wildfires of the season in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Wildfire Service on scene at Doumont Road fire

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Wellington Secondary drama program stages adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Production will feature two actresses in the role of Alice

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Nanaimo set to celebrate its heritage

Nanaimo Heritage Days takes places Sunday at Maffeo Sutton Park

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read