There will be big bands, big sounds and all that jazz when a group of Blackfriars students heads to Mount Gambier tomorrow.
Blackfriars will take 31 students, from Years 6-12, to Generations in Jazz, Australia’s biggest celebration of school-based jazz bands and musicians. It is the first in-person Generations in Jazz festival since the covid pandemic.
Head of Performing Arts Lucy Pope was looking forward to seeing the students, from Stage Bands 1 and 2, “perform at their very best”.
“I am looking forward to getting back to Generations in Jazz,” Ms Pope said. “I think it’s my 14th or 15th time; obviously, covid put a dent in that. Most of the boys haven’t been before … so it will be a great new experience for them.”
Saxophonist and Year 12 student Stefan Zienkiewicz, who is considering post-school studies in music, was looking forward the atmosphere, the competition and the nightly concerts, including a performance by Swedish supergroup Dirty Loops.
“I’m staying optimistic, I reckon we’ll do all right,” Stefan said of the competition.
Year 10 students Max Roque and Year 11 Martin Nguyen admitted to some nerves.
“I am nervous because it’s my first time going to a big competition, but I think we can do well, if we focus,” trumpeter Max said.
At the 2019 event, Blackfriars Stage Band 1 finished third in its division, while in 2018, then-Year 11 student Vince Ravida was named as lead trumpeter for the Generations in Jazz Division 3 Superband.
Ahead of the festival, the students from Stage Band 1 and Stage Band 2 worked with the brilliant Adam Page, a renown multi-instrumentalist, composer, music educator and record producer.
Ms Pope said having Page mentor the students was a real coup, particularly ahead of Generations in Jazz.
“We’re so thankful to Adam for sharing his insights with the boys,” she said. “They all took something away from the workshops. We’re looking forward to some incredible performances at Generations in Jazz.”
Generations in Jazz was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to covid and the 2022 festival was held as a virtual event.
“After a few years of interruptions, we’re beyond excited to be back in the swing of things and we’re ready to get loud with three full days of jazz,” the organisers said.
“There’ll be all the performances, the awards, and the scholarships we’re famous for. We honestly can’t tell you how great it is to be back.”
Generations in Jazz, 5-7 May, Mount Gambier.