B.C. Interior Jazz Festival Kicks Off


Roger Treece
The little festival that grew has put another feather in the organizers’ collective caps, and it fittingly takes place at the 35th annual B.C. Interior Jazz Festival.
Three music lovers created the jazz festival, the brainchild of the late Johnny Deschner, Robin Jarman and Dr. Doug Graham, who pulled together the initial half-day event; saw it grow into a full day and then into the three-day extravaganza it is today.
This year, the festival can claim credit for attracting 72 groups and 1,500 participants from throughout the Okanagan, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Washington State.
And among the most notable special guests is feature artist Roger Treece, whose music experience and world-wide acclaim as a multi-faceted musician is legendary.
Treece, who splits his time between his Los Angeles and New York homes, bridges all genres of music, including classical, pop, jazz, commercial and world music.
He is equally at home in the studio, on the concert stage and recently completed an exhaustive work entitled VOCAbuLarieS, which has set the music world on edge.
The album took almost eight years to complete and was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2011, has been called a masterpiece, a glimpse of the future of choral music, and a new standard for choral recording.
Inspired by Bobby McFerrin, conceived by his manager Linda Goldstein and performed by Treece, McFerrin and 50 musicians from around the world, the album took several years of dedicated work to achieve.
The seven songs that make up VOCAbuLarieS “keep the listener’s ear in a constant state of surprise,” says Treece.
And the concept is unique in that “there is no traditional choral work, no choral music that allows for improvisation,” he said.
“I believe this is the next step, the next evolution for the choral art form,” he added.
The unprecedented work has met some “resistance, maybe a little fear” among the more traditional groups, but Treece feels it is “because it is foreign to them.”
“There’s a sense of intimidation, it’s not part of their world -yet,” he added. “They’ve never been taught or trained to include or approach improvisation in choral works.
“But, 20 years from now, I hope choral works will be able to do this.”
The lyrics offer a collage of Latin, Italian, Sanskrit, Zulu, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Arabic, German, English and Gaelic.
Treece, who will headline the much-anticipated Jazz Masters Concert on Friday, will meld his effortless voice with his musicianship.
Commenting on his first trip to Kelowna and the festival, Treece said that as an educator, he believes “sharing with our young musicians is imperative.”
“Our future depends on it,” he said. “Art is our soul food. Art feeds us. We must pass it on, we need to interact with others, to be mentors and inspire others, especially students.”
While in Kelowna, Treece will act as teacher and adjudicator, focusing on “a lot of interaction with the kids.”
The festival has also attracted prestigious adjudicators from across Canada who will tune an educated ear when listening to the numerous musicians and vocalists perform in Kelowna.
The festival is a cornucopia of sounds for the jazz lover, with jazz bands, jazz combos and talented jazz vocalists competing for top honors.
The best of the best will be featured at the Showcase of Most Outstanding Talents on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the KCT, with a nominal $5 admission.
Throughout the three-day event, there will be music workshops, clinics and performances to which the public is encouraged and welcome to attend, taking place in both the Kelowna Community Theatre and the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
The public is welcome to attend all the adjudicated performances at a nominal $2 all-day fee; as well as the workshops and clinics, which are free; and are encouraged to take in the fantastic evening of entertainment when the Jazz Masters’ Concert takes to the stage.
Adjudicators this year include Amanda Morazain, vocals; Jodi Proznick, bass; Alex Dean, saxophone; Rich Sumstad, vocals and trumpet; Loni Moger, guitar; Campbell Ryga, alto sax; Bernie Addington, bass.
Kelowna’s own Michael Garding Big Band will cap off Friday’s Jazz Masters evening.

What: The 35th annual B.C. Interior Jazz Festival with the Jazz Masters’ Concert.
When: Thursday-Saturday, April 12-14 at the Kelowna Community Theatre and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Jazz Masters’ on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Showcase of Talent on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: Workshops and clinics are free. Day tickets to adjudicated performances are $2. Showcase tickets $5. Masters’ concert $25.
Concert: Jazz Masters’ Concert featuring Roger Treece, with tickets available at the Prospera Place box office, 250-762-5050 or selectyourtickets.com
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