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 Twenty Four 6th – 11th grade students from Whatcom County middle and high schools. Currently (Spring 2017) there are open spots for one more trombonist, a second pianist and a second drummer to complete our roster. The BYJB meets Wednesday night at the Bellingham Senior Activities Center, where rehearsal 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, 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, selected students make up several smaller combos to perform at concerts, and individuals are featured on solos and vocal arrangements.
The Jazz Project charges tuition ($160 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. 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.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Saturday, June 3, 5-8pm Big Band Bash IV@ Boundary Bay, Open to the public, suggested $10 donation goes toward student scholarships
Thursday, June 8, 6:30pm @ St. Paul’s Academy band concert
Tuesday, June 6, 7pm combos @ Shuksan Middle School band concert
Friday, June 9, cutoff for pre-registration for Summer BYJB: 676-5750
Saturday, June 10, 11am @ Bellingham Farmer’s Market, final event of Spring BYJB.
Wednesday, June 14, First rehearsal of Summer BYJB, 6pm beginners, 7:30 advanced.
Saturday, July 1, 10:30 am Concert @ St. Francis, private concert for residents, parents
Thursday, July 6, 7pm Concert @ The Leopold, private concert for residents, parents
Saturday, July 8, 10:30am Concert @ Barkley Village Gazebo, free & open to the public
Saturday, July 15, 10:30am Concert @ Lynden Raspberry Festival Stage
Friday, July 21, 7pm Concert @ Spring Creek, private concert for residents, parents
Sunday, July 23, 2pm Concert @ Louisa Place, private concert
Saturday, July 29, Noon Concert @ Bellingham Senior Activities Center, free & open to the public
Saturday, July 29, 7pm Swing Dance @ Bellingham Senior Center, entry by donation
Sunday, July 30, 2pm Concert @ The Willows, private concert
Saturday, August 5, Concert TBA
Sunday, August 6, Final Concert 2-4pm @ Bellewood Acres