Phil Dwyer and the MAC are teaming up to bring back Dwyer’s Academy of Music and Culinary Arts this August, with registration expected to open up April 3. — NEWS File Photo

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

Registration begins April 3 for Phil Dwyer Academy of Music and Culinary Arts

Juno Award-winning jazz saxophonist, composer, producer and educator Phil Dwyer is re-opening his summer Jazz academy with help from the MAC.

The camp runs from August 13-15, and the local musician and member of the Order of Canada said, “I think it might be the best music faculty for a summer camp that’s ever been assembled in Canada.”

Musicians including Neil Swainson, Ken Lister, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen and guest artist PJ Perry are among those who will teach at the camp, which will include student concerts and a faculty concert at Knox United Church on Aug. 16.

With the first week for senior jazz (16-19 years) and junior jazz (13-15 years), and week two for adult jazz and vocal jazz, the Phil Dwyer Academy of Music and Culinary Arts will provide an opportunity for several dozen jazz musicians to learn from these well-known performers.

Five full scholarships will be reserved for local students to attend the program, said the MAC’s executive director, Jennifer Bate.

“We are now trying to get sponsors for the program — we are halfway to our goal of $20,000 to help underwrite the costs of faculty contracts and expenses,” she said.

Dwyer said Bate approached him for advice on starting up a jazz program, prompting Dwyer to re-start a summer camp that he ran out of his house with his wife for nine years, from 2005 to 2014.

The culinary portion of the program started as a way to teach young musicians the basics of cooking, as Dwyer found their knowledge was lacking in that area.

“A lot of them didn’t know how to do even any basic cooking. They’d be eating Subway and KFC,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer’s original program eventually grew to the point where about 45 students and 12 faculty were making lunch every day in his backyard — it had all become too big.

This time, with the support of the MAC, practice space at Ballenas school, Inclusion Parksville and the MAC itself, Dwyer said he’s excited to offer the opportunity to students again.

“For me, it’s such a thrill to be able to pick up the phone and phone eight or nine of the best musicians I know in the world and say, ‘Hey, come to Parksville for a week,” said Dwyer.

“I think it’s really great for the community. For the students that come, it’s a great opportunity, but for people in the community, it’s an opportunity to hear musicians of a calibre that they might normally have to go to Montreal or New York or Toronto to hear.”

For the MAC’s part, Bate said she has hopes for the program to be an annual one, and that it helps put the McMillan Arts Centre’s School for the Creative Arts on the map.

The culinary arts portion of the program will continue, with groups of students helping to make lunch for everyone each day, said Dwyer.

“I’m glad that it looks like we’re going to be able to continue making that an element of the camp,” he said.

For more info, keep an eye on the McMillan Arts Centre website at

Just Posted

Five young goats go missing in Lantzville

Goats escape through hole in fence at property on Sywash Ridge Road

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Generals host camp in Parksville

Main camp attracts 45 players vying for sport in this season’s roster

Parksville-area watchdogs say drivers getting message on cell use

Other distracted driving habits still a problem

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read