THIS is one of the first public performances for participants in this year’s workshops for aspiring young jazz musicians run by Marina Pollard out of the Victorian Jazz Archive rooms at Wantirna. And appropriately it was connected with another youth activity: a community arts project run by the City of Knox for local school students to express their visions for the future of local parks and neighbourhood streets in their city using a variety of media. On August 20th the six winning entries went on display in the light boxes in Cinema Lane, Dorset Square, Boronia. The exhibition titled “Future Knox up in Lights” will run until November.
Since this gig, the Under 25’s Workshop Ensemble participated for an hour in Tommy Carter’s radio program “Jazz as you like it” on Radio 97.7 FM, and they are currently rehearsing for a performance at the Stringybark Festival in Rowville on Saturday 20 October. Marina is also negotiating for them to play at the Berwick Market in November. All great opportunities for these young musicians to get experience in public performance, and to build their musical ambitions.
Jazz Workshops have a long history in Melbourne. Before Marina took up the reins in about 2002, the Victorian Jazz Club – at the instigation of a group of musicians including Kevin Bolton, Dave Patton and Dawn Lock (now Houghton) in conjunction with Marj Burke – began presenting workshops for young people with jazz aspirations in 1984. Over the years the workshops provided a great opportunity for keen young musicians to expand their musical knowledge and to learn more about the history of jazz and how to play it. Many well known “older” musicians – including Ian Smith, Chris Ludowyk, Ian Hellings, Graham Coyle, Ross Anderson, John Adams, Graeme Pender, Pat Miller, Vince Hopkins, Ben Johnson, Fred Stephenson, Clint Smith etc. etc. etc -have given of their time and wisdom over the years. Some of the finest musicians who are now household names amongst the jazz fraternity came through these workshops: their list is also long but included Jo Stevenson, Ash Gaudion, Stephen Grant, Mark Elton, Lindsay Flint, Emelia Wilmot, Seb Girardot.
In about 2002 the Victorian Jazz Club was unable to find a volunteer to continue to run its Workshops. Marina Pollard stepped into the breech and set up a private business to offer a new workshop series which continues to this day with the cooperation of the Victorian Jazz Archive and the support of various jazz clubs, including the VJC. Marina’s devotion to the task of introducing young people to the joys of jazz has been and continues to be outstanding.
Anyone interested in participating in the Under 25s workshops or those for older musicians should contact Marina on 9781 4972 or by email at vhmarinap@bigpond .com