Kwalium Secondary School students play at the MAC in Parksville

Award-winning Jazzavoirdog group will perform popular jazz standards at music night in Parksville

Some Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) students who are part of the music academy will demonstrate why they continue to win awards when they perform at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) on Friday, July 11.

The MAC has been featuring jazz evenings with concerts scheduled on the second Friday of each month right through to the fall.

This month the Jazzavoirdogs will be showcased and music lovers will have an opportunity to hear them perform some popular jazz standards.

Making up the group of young, dedicated and highly inspired jazz musicians are Caleb Borsboom on alto sax, guitar, flute, and string bass; Judah Parkes on tenor sax, clarinet and guitar; Sam Galier on tenor sax and string bass; Stewart Isbister on piano and Justice Cote on drums and vocals.

The members of the group are multi talented on their own and they also double on guitar, string bass and jazz vocals.

The grade 10 and 11 students are all members of the Qualicum Academy and have completed two years in an intensive jazz studies program. Dave Stewart, who heads up the school’s music department, said they have learned in-depth jazz harmony, history and stylistic interpretation and they now shine as performers.

“They are a power house group of kids.  This group has been together for two years and they are really good,” he stated.

He said that once a month music pros came to the academy to work with the enthusiastic students and that mentorship has paid off.

“They are young, dedicated and highly inspired young jazz musicians and it is rewarding for me to see how far they have come.”

The monthly workshops included pointers from the likes of piano/saxophonist Phil Dwyer, piano/vibes/bassist Don Thompson, trombonist Ian Mcdougall, bassist Ken Lister, drummer Hans Verhoven, and many other stellar jazz professionals.

This year the students performed at the prestigious Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho — where they received numerous awards for outstanding jazz solos.

They also performed at the West Coast Jazz Festival where they were awarded the highest standing of Gold.

In the past, Stewart’s students have picked up many awards at the numerous music competitions they have attended, but he said the academy has provided students with an even higher level of education and those who attend the concert will hear for themselves how impressive their sound is.

“The level we see from the students coming out of the academy is really high … so it will be a great jazz performance,” said Stewart.

Tickets for the July 11 show are $15 and $10 for students. Doors open at 6:30 and performance starts at 7:00 p.m.