Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra Programs
Main Stage Concert Series presents four concerts, each performed in two venues (Benaroya Hall and Kirkland Performance Center.) The series combines historically significant pieces, jazz favorites, and unusual jazz compositions not often offered.
The Jazz4Kid Program “turns the concert hall into a classroom” so that young people and their families can hear repertory jazz performed live in a theater setting. These matinee concerts feature instrument demonstrations, a Q&A session, and hands-on instrument displays. We regularly hear from young people that their first experience with live music has been one of our Jazz4Kids concerts, and that they have grown to love music for their entire lives. In some cases, music became a life-long career.
The JazzScholars Program enrolls middle school students. Our year-round program (in its 7th year in 2013) at Denny International Middle School provides instructional support, free music lessons, and donated musical instruments for disadvantaged youth. With the program’s increased popularity, we expanded our involvement by providing badly needed support to the band director by coaching small groups of students from the larger ensemble. Co-Artistic Director Clarence Acox now serves as educational director to provide long-term program leadership and consistency. We have plans to expand the program to the Aki Kurose Middle School in South Seattle for FY 2013-2014.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our concert programming has been a major success. During the past and current seasons, more than two-thirds of our main-stage performances were fully sold out - some with overflow seating on stage. Our first appearance at Bumbershoot arts festival in 2012 was a huge success. The Branford Marsalis concerts in November 2012 were an excellent example of our strength and consistency. This was a complete artistic success on a very ambitious production. To increase participation by young adults in their 20s and 30s, we have introduced “The Speakeasy,” a program through which jazz fans are invited to special pre- and post-concert events, and are offered various incentives – all coordinated through Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Our success has been met with the challenge of managing expanded programming. Continued growth will only come through a coordinated effort to increase artistic output, while relieving the artistic directors of operational responsibilities. To address this, we have added two new positions: operations management and development manager. Foremost is the challenge to raise and sustain additional funding to support the two new staff members. Monies awarded from the Paul G. Allen Foundation three year capacity-building grant are supporting the new positions. We need to raise an additional $60,000 in matching support. Special fund raising efforts by board and staff, and increased donations from individuals and businesses have been our primary focus.