What better way to kick off the new year than to head to the west coast of Australia, and help Australind High School launch their new jazz program.
Australind is a state high school in Bunbury, WA, about 90mins from Perth. John has been to visit a couple of times in the past, and for the last couple of years, has been advising them on how to start a dedicated jazz stream into their school curriculum. With Andrew Mackay-Simm leading the way, they have auditioned about 20 year 8 students to be the first year through the program, and John spent a couple of hours with them discovering the joys of improvisation. With the help of his good mate, Perth sax man, Paul “Pax” Andrews, it was a noisy and productive afternoon.
In the evening, we all headed to the Bunbury Entertainment Centre where several bands performed, including past students, current teachers, and special guests. John did a demonstration improvisation workshop and asked for students to volunteer to come on stage. Within seconds, the stage was swamped with eager students willing to have a go! John, Pax and I did a guest spot with the swingin’ teacher’s band, and the night was capped off with a few tunes from Jamie Ohlers and friends from WAAPA.
It was a great day, a fun evening, and we look forward to seeing how this jazz program will develop in the coming years.