VIU music instructor and drummer Hans Verhoeven has launched a new concert series showcasing music students. (Photo courtesy Dirk Heydemann)

New jazz concert series at VIU pub to highlight student musicians

Music instructor Hans Verhoeven launched series to give pupils ‘hands-on’ experience

Hans Verhoeven says music education is heavy on theory and lighter on practice and the drummer and VIU music instructor is hoping to fix that imbalance with a new jazz concert series.

Starting Jan. 9 at the VIU Students’ Union Pub and running for the subsequent four Thursdays Verhoeven, bassist Alex Coleman and pianist James Darling are welcoming select music students to join them onstage for some “hands-on experience” with a professional backing band.

“Featuring one student at a time with a really top-notch professional rhythm section, we haven’t done that before and it really forces the students to raise their game and it really puts them in the hot seat but in a good way,” Verhoeven said. “So for me it’s about increasing the challenge and raising the level of the students and really pushing them to reach their potential.”

Coleman is a 20-year veteran of the Toronto jazz scene and Darling plays in local bands like Wunderbread and Johnny Inappropriate. Both are alumni of VIU’s music program and serve as examples to current students, Verhoeven said.

Joining the trio on Jan. 9 are two fourth-year students: Natasha Adams, a bassist and singer who Verhoeven said is bound for “great things,” and vocalist Teighan Couch, “who’s got a beautiful voice and is really developing a nice, unique sound.”

When selecting students to showcase, Verhoeven said “first and foremost” he’s looking for those with a positive and proactive attitude and approach to music as well as “a real desire” to play and perform.

“I think that needs to be there before anything else can happen because that’s what translates over to the listening audience,” he said. “They come because they want to feel that energy and that special something that you can only get from music, so I’m really looking for students who have that.”

WHAT’S ON … Weekly jazz concert at the VIUSU Pub, VIU Bldg. 193, on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. No cover. Series continues each Thursday until Feb. 6.

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