Young musicians unite for Jazz Fest

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Band Jazz Lemurs (from left) Haein Shin (17), on guitar, James Monaghan (16), saxophone, Jezrah Cooper (17), drums, Jack McKenzie (17), trombone, Daniel Wells (17), saxophone, and Alex Thomson (16), bass guitar, ahead of the ILT Jazz Fest.SECONDARY school pupils from throughout the southern region will get the opportunity to put their jazz skills to the test tomorrow night.

SECONDARY school pupils from throughout the southern region will get the opportunity to put their jazz skills to the test tomorrow night.

The ILT Jazz Fest will include bands from secondary schools in Southland and Central Otago.

Itinerant music teacher Ross Ogilvy said about 10 bands would perform during the festival this year.

The festival was started by musician and music teacher Alastair Monteath in the early 1990s, he said.

It provided a platform for pupils learning jazz to perform in front of an audience and have the opportunity to win prizes, while also covering some NCEA requirements.

The bands would get to perform three pieces, including this year’s test piece Ladybird

“They all have to perform a test piece in whatever way they want to do it, they rearrange it to suit.”

A lot of the other material would be standards, which come from the jazz fake book, he said.

“There’s hundreds, or thousands, to choose from. So that gives them a bare bones chart with a melody and chords, and their job is then to make something come of it.”

Ogilvy said it was a chance for pupils to showcase their improvisation skills in a non-pressured environment.

“It’s a good avenue for them to improvise… It’s just good for them to get out and do it, because the hardest thing is to just go up there and make a solo up on the spot.”

The event was not for profit, with funds from the door charge going towards the pupils’ prizes, Ogilvy said.

There were four monetary prizes up for grabs – first, second and third band, and best test piece.

Certificates would also be awarded for best solo, with each instrument having its own field.

Ogilvy has heard many talented young pupils perform at the event over the years, and some had carried on their studies at tertiary level.

He said he had been able to invite some of those former pupils back as judges, which was also a good way for current pupils to see what they can go on to.

ILT Jazz Fest, Ascot Park Hotel, Friday, October 19, 7pm. Door sales $10 adults, $5 pupils.

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