Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

The Bellingham Youth Jazz Band begins its 23rd year on Wednesday, October 5th @ 7pm at the Bellingham First Baptist Church, 110 Flora Street. Interested middle/high school musicians on sax, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass (upright/electric) drum set or vocals that are currently enrolled in their school’s music programs and/or taking weekly private lessons are eligible if they have one year minimum experience on their instrument. Due to the vulnerability of those we serve, full COVID-19 vaccinations will be required of all participants in the band. Please pre-register and then bring instrument, registration form and COVID vaccination card Wednesday night.  Weekly Wednesday rehearsals and 20+ performances run through next Spring. Call 360-676-5750 for pre-registration (so there will be music waiting for you), or email: markelly@oz.net

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 was most recently (2020) made up of 18 students ranging from 5th – 10th grade from 8 regional schools.   The BYJB rehearses Wednesday night at the First Baptist Church, 110 Flora Street, where space for the group is donated by the First Baptist Church and Jeff Flint (pastor and bass trombonist).

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, the San Juan Music Educator’s ‘Friend of Music’ award in 2008 and the Whatcom Family & Community Network’s ‘Ken Gass Community Building Award’ in 2015 for his work with these young musicians. 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.

Check this website for future developments.