Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

The Jazz Project’s “Bellingham Youth Jazz Band” was created in 1997 by musician and educator, Mark Kelly, as a feeder program for the local high school jazz bands. The group is currently made up of 22 students ranging from 4th – 9th grade from 13 regional schools.   The BYJB rehearses Wednesday night at the Bellingham Senior Activities Center, where space for the group is donated by Whatcom County Parks.

The BYJB performs about 40 free community concerts annually throughout Whatcom County in local parks, theaters, schools, nursing homes, fairs, for dances, and jazz festivals.  The BYJB learns and recreates the classic American Jazz repertoire of the 1920’s – 1970’s using a standard 18 piece big band format. In addition, select students make up several smaller combos to perform at concerts, and individuals are featured on solos and vocal arrangements.

The Jazz Project charges tuition ($200 per trimester) and seeks private and public grants and donations from the community. Fund raising activities by parents and students supplement the annual budget. The Jazz Project (a 501(c)3 non-profit), pays for music, equipment, director salary, scholarships, lessons, clinicians, and all other expenses. All contributions to The Jazz Project are tax-deductible and can be made by clicking the donate now tab on the sidebar of this page. Contact Jud Sherwood for more information on how you can support the BYJB.

The BYJB plays regularly around Bellingham to a wide range of audiences. Mark Kelly was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award in 2000 and the San Juan Music Educator’s ‘Friend of Music’ award in 2008 for his work with these young musicians, and his band continues to create community connections across several generations with their concerts and swing dances. If you would like the BYJB to play for your event, or know someone who would like to audition for the band, please contact Mark Kelly at 360.676.5750.  Contact the Jazz Project for scholarship information and applications @ 360.650.1066.


‘all concerts are free and open to the public unless marked otherwise’

Sat., July 13: Greene’s Corner 7pm; Sunnyland Stomp concert

Sun. July 14: Louisa Place, Ferndale 2-3 pm; Private concert for residents and parents

Sun., July 14: Samson Estates Winery, 4 pm for the Jazz Project’s Summer Jazz Second Sunday Series

Sat., July 20:  Lynden Manor 11am (private) & Raspberry Festival stage 1:30 (public)

Sun., July 21, The Willows 2pm  (private concert)

Thurs., July 25, Spring Creek 7pm (private concert)

Fri., July 26, Dance at Bellingham Senior Center 7-9pm, open to the public; admission by donation which supports BYJB and Whatcom Co. Parks

Sat., July 27: Barkley Village Gazebo, 10:00am – 11:30,  public concert bring your own seating

Sat. July 27: McKay’s Taphouse, 1118 E. Maple St., 1-2 pm.

Sun., July 28: 1pm  downtown LaConner Live, Legacy Combo opens at 1pm followed by Kid’Sax Ensemble at 2:00 and BYJB at 3:00

Wed., July 31: Barkley Village Farmer’s Market @ 5pm

Fri., Aug. 2: ArtWalk 6pm concert near Allied Arts on Cornwall Ave.

Sat., Aug. 3: Bellingham Senior Center Lunch, 11am on the lawn.

Sun., Aug. 4:  Noon-3pm @ Village Green with the Swing Connection Big Band; final event for summer BYJB

Wed., Sept. 18: First rehearsal of 2019-2020 BYJB; 7pm @ BSAC