NAPLES YOUTH JAZZ ORCHESTRA
The Naples Jazz Orchestra wants kids to know and love jazz the way the adult members of the NJO do. And it hasn't been hard to find willing spirits: Students are coming from as far as North Fort Myers to be part of the Naples Youth Jazz Orchestra, which will make its seasonal premiere at 7 p.m. Monday.
Its 26-week program brings aspiring young musicians together to play in a select ensemble, improve their skills and learn the style and music of America's legendary big jazz bands. It's invaluable education for those planning a college major in music. But it is also a direct support to local school band programs, which get the benefit of students who are constantly improving their performance levels.
Part of that improvement is the challenge of live performance. The selected high school musicians will be playing the Gibraltar of jazz, Duke Ellington, in the Cambier Park concert. Classics such as "Sophisticated Lady," "Caravan," "Satin Doll," "In a Sentimental Mood" and "Take the 'A' Train" are on the program.
Organized and managed by the NJO, the NYJO allows talented students to learn the jazz genre, including ensemble and solo playing, from jazz professionals with decades of performance and teaching experience. NJO Music Director Bob Stone and Assistant Director Mark Pettey, both credentialed teachers, lead the program's teaching staff, with help from lead players from the Naples Jazz Orchestra.
Rehearsals are from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on Sundays throughout the school year from September through April. However, students will learn an extensive repertoire for the season, and a commitment to at-home practice, which is essential in order for the band to perform at its peak.
To prove its commitment to community outreach, the NJO board of directors decided any young musician who is selected for the young jazz orchestra through its auditions will receive a full scholarship, although it requires the adult orchestra to seek more sponsorships to help financially.
The program has a strict attendance policy to which students and parents must commit. Music and soundtracks are available on the youth orchestra's website to facilitate at-home practice, and instructors are available for private tutoring.
What:Naples Jazz Orchestra and Naples Youth Jazz Orchestra
Where: Cambier Park, 755 Eighth St. S., Naples
When: 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14
Admission: $5 donation requested
These young musicians performing Saturday in Naples are outstanding — officially.
Once a year, as part of its community outreach to the youth of Southwest Florida, the Bach Ensemble offers young vocalists and instrumentalists the opportunity to perform a Baroque piece of their choice before professional judges.
This year, it will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 in the First United Methodist Church, 388 First Ave. S., Naples.
Those judged to be outstanding performers are then invited to join the Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra in a formal concert. The audience will hear both the students and the Bach Ensemble itself in excerpts of some of its best work.
This year, the Bach Festival Concert will feature 11 young performers, age 7-17, performing works by Bach, Casadesus, Handel and Pachelbel. From the Bach Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra, there will be excerpts from Bach's Cantata No. 106, Mass in B Minor, and Passion According to St. John performed by the Bach Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra.
A free reception will follow the concert to celebrate the work of the young performers, their families and teachers.
The Bach Ensemble champions music of Bach and that era, and performs in concert as well as in its small-group formation, the Troubadors.
The organization places a premium on outreach, including intern scholarships and student competition. It's in its 11th year performing in Southwest Florida and is under the direction of Ron Doiron.
What: Bach Festival Concert, featuring Bach Festival student winners, the Bach Ensemble and Orchestra
When: 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12
Where: First United Methodist Church, 388 First Ave. S., Naples
Information: thebachensemble.org or 239-732-1055