Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

BYJB on hiatus until further notice.

The Bellingham Youth Jazz Band will delay the start of season #23, Fall of 2021, due to the increasing COVID 19 cases in Whatcom County. If you are interested in joining the band when we do resume (Spring, Summer or Fall of 2022), please contact us at www.jazzproject.org and click ‘contact’; we will make sure you get first notice of eventual restart. Due to the vulnerability of those we serve, full vaccinations will be required of all participants and family members, which is another reason for this delay.

As we consult with local health officials, nursing home & retirement community operators, Bellingham Senior Center, Whatcom County Parks and regional School districts this website will serve as the monitor for what to expect moving forward. When the BYJB resumes participating students and their respective families will be required to have full COVID vaccines completed.

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 18 students ranging from 5th – 10th grade from 8 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.

Check this website for future developments.