Celebrated jazz saxophonist Phil Dwyer will be performing with some of Canada’s best jazz musicians at a concert on Aug. 16 at Knox United Church. — Submitted by the MAC

Jazz greats assemble for Parksville concert

Through revived Phil Dwyer academy, performance at Knox Church Aug. 16

Some of Canada’s very best jazz musicians will be in Parksville to teach Canada’s future greats this August.

But they’ll also be putting on a concert the likes of which will likely never be seen again, said Juno award-winning saxophonist and local resident Phil Dwyer.

“These are some of the best musicians on their instruments in the world, and they’re all coming to Parksville,” said Dwyer.

Gathered to teach at Dwyer’s revived Phil Dwyer Academy of Music and Culinary Arts, nine jazz musicians, some from the Island, and others from Toronto, Montreal and New York, will perform a faculty concert at Knox United Church (345 Pym St., Parksville) on Thursday, Aug. 16.

RELATED: Phil Dwyer re-opens summer Jazz school with MAC in Parksville

Dwyer hails it as a collection of his mentors and talented contemporaries.

“This will be very likely the only time in history that this particular group of musicians will ever perform together,” said Dwyer. “It will generate all sorts of interesting and unique musical happenings that will be completely unique to this performance.”

The concert will include celebrated trumpet-player Ingrid Jensen, saxophonist and Member of the Order of Canada PJ Perry, composer/musician Christine Jensen, head of guitar at Humber College Ted Quinlan, bassist Neil Swainson (who’s recently returned from performances in Japan with Perry), Juno Award Winner for Best Contemporary Jazz Recording in 2013 Joel Miller, drummer Jon Wikan from New York, as well as locals Ken Lister on bass and drummer Hans Verhoeven.

Together, Dwyer estimates that the musicians have played on more than 50 Juno-winning or nominated albums.

For the concert, Dwyer predicts a broad program, including classic jazz songs as well as original work by the several of the musicians.

They’ll be performing in various configurations from trios on up to the entire faculty together, he said.

“In my career, I’ve had wonderful opportunities to have worked with all these people,” said Dwyer. With his revived academy of music (running Aug. 13-24), Dwyer looks to offer the same opportunity to students, both in terms of connecting them up with renowned teachers and musicians, but also with fellow students. The students will also be putting on a performance.

The academy has about two-dozen jazz students in the junior and senior program, some local and some from elsewhere on the Island and B.C.

“We have a phenomenal group of students,” said Dwyer. “Many of them are the top music students in the province. They’ve won all kinds of awards.”

Many of the students know each-other from competitions and music festivals, but the academy will give them a chance to learn and perform together.

“It’s all part of the philosophy of passing it along and keeping that knowledge and enthusiasm moving down through the generations,” said Dwyer.

“I had these opportunities when I was that age… (on the Island and elsewhere). Those opportunities to meet more experienced musicians had a huge impact on my life,” Dwyer said.

The Junior and Senior Jazz Student Concert will take place Friday, Aug. 17 at the Whalebone Theatre (at Ballenas Secondary School) starting at 7 p.m.

A third performance by the academy’s 18 adult jazz students will take place at Thalassa Restaurant in Qualicum Beach on Thursday Aug. 23 starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets for the student concerts are $10 each, while tickets to the faculty show on Aug. 16 are $25 for adults, $22 for Oceanside Community Arts Council members and $15 for students.

For tickets, contact the MAC at 250-248-8185 or go online to mcmillanartscentre.com.

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