Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre this week. (Photo courtesy François Savard)

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre this week. (Photo courtesy François Savard)

Nanaimo International Jazz Festival goes online with help of Canadian Heritage grant

Video concert series from Harbour City Theatre to be unveiled in February

With this year’s Nanaimo International Jazz Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, organizers have shifted gears and will instead present an online concert series recorded at the Harbour City Theatre.

The week the festival association announced that filming is now underway for a series of concert videos featuring jazz artists from Comox to the Cowichan Valley. The videos will be published online this February.

The concert series is possible with the help of a $76,600 grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage, which NIJF association past president Andrew Homzy said is the greatest sum that’s ever gone toward the support of jazz in Nanaimo.

“That’s the largest single grant that we ever had,” he said. “It was very exciting.”

Homzy said early this year everything was in place for the NIJF to proceed as normal. A grant application was sent to Canadian Heritage and the performers had all been chosen. The international headliner was to be the Brubeck Brothers Quartet paying tribute to their father, renowned American jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who died in 2012 and would have turned 100 this year.

“We were ready to sign the contracts,” Homzy said. “And then COVID hit.”

The festival association held out hope that it would still be possible to present the NIJF in September, but by the summer the decision was made to postpone the event until 2021.

“We were feeling in despair about the whole thing,” Homzy said. “And then in early July, I got a notice from Canadian Heritage saying that our grant was approved from them. And furthermore, that because of COVID, they were going to allow for special conditions and that they would allow us to do a virtual festival.”

Current NIJF association president Greg Bush said Canadian Heritage was “very accommodating considering the situation.”

“They kept loosening up the criteria so that we could do this over the internet,” he said. “They wanted to see it take place, I guess.”

Performing from Nanaimo are the Lucas Smart Quartet, the Gerry Barnum Quartet, the Narissa Young Trio, the Keanu Barned Trio, the Marty Steele Trio, the Shalema Gantt Trio and Nico Rhodes. Also taking to the stage are the Aaron Amar Trio from Comox, the Brock Meades Trio from Cowichan and Diana Braithwaite and the Chris Whiteley Quartet from Duncan.

Homzy said the grant required that all artists be local, which in this case means residing anywhere from Comox to Cowichan, and that the performances be free to the public. He said they will all be performing pieces by local and Canadian composers.

“This is the first time that anything like this has ever been done,” Homzy said. “I think our little festival, we’ve been innovating and things that we’ve been doing are just unprecedented and I think that needs to be celebrated.”

RELATED: Jazz festival will bring new sounds to downtown Nanaimo

RELATED: Festival parade ‘jazzes’ up downtown Nanaimo

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stock photo
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s find a cure for potato pox

What happened to the clean-skinned potato of my youth, asks letter writer

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale as owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

The current boat used by Rugged Coast Research Society for remote shoreline cleanup operations will be replaced by a landing craft that will allow society members to haul four times as much marine garbage per trip from Vancouver Island’s remote shorelines. (Agathe Bernard photo/Rugged Coast Research Society)
Nanaimo-based research group needs bigger boat for coastal cleanups

Rugged Coast Research Society raising cash for landing craft to pull trash from remote shorelines

Pet owners are leaving more dog waste than ever before on Nanaimo’s paths and trails, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Dog owners need to pick up after their pets

Letter writer says he’s ‘disgusted’ by dog walkers not picking up their dog waste

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way into business on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres

Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is among the artists participating in the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Rain Shadow exhibit. His piece, ‘We Fell from the Sky/Together and Apart,’ depicts a Snuneymuxw creation story. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores the ways people think about place

‘Rain Shadow’ features work mostly by Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)

Most Read