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
Wednesday, March 29, 8pm @ WWU Viking Union Building WWU Swing Kids dance, open to the public
Friday, March 31, 6:30 pm @ Lake Whatcom Center, private concert for residents, parents
Friday, April 14, 7-9pm Swing Dance @ Bellingham High School, Open to the public
Sunday, April 23, 3pm @ The Willows (private concert for residents)
Sunday, April 23, 5-8pm Big Band Bash III at The Majestic, Open to the public $10 suggested donation to raise scholarship funds
Thursday, April 27, 8pm @ YWCA Ballroom 1026 N. Forest St. Swing Dance, Open to the public
Friday, April 28, 7pm @ Parkway Chateau, private concert for residents, parents
Friday, May 5: 6pm @ ArtWalk @ Light Catcher Museum, Open to the public, free;
and 7pm @ Bellingham H.S. All-City Jazz Night, Open to the public, free.
Saturday, May 13, 9am recording session @ Binary Studios
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
Wednesday, June 14 6-8:30 First rehearsal of Summer 2017 BYJB (runs through early August)