Jazz Jam fans have noticed a new instrument addition to the exciting Thursday night performances. The new vibraphone was purchased with patron donations, so thank you for supporting and enjoying Thursday night Jazz Jam. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Craig Thompson one of the Jazz Jam organizers and mentors, and he told us a little about the importance of the new instrument and how it is impacting the education and careers of these brilliant young musicians.

“This instrument is one that drummers are invariably asked to play in university as their melodic instrument. We have a large number of drummers who attend the jam every week, and most of them only get to play two or three tunes per session on the drum kit. With the vibes, we can get more drummers actively participating in the session.

Over the years, the Okanagan has had a tremendous track record with students moving on to study post-secondary music and getting into national and/or provincial honour groups. The exception to the rule has been drummers; we have fewer than one drummer going on to study post-secondary music per decade. The reason? They rarely have any real theory background. Many of them are stellar musicians, but they feel very intimidated by the knowledge possessed by their peers who play chord instruments or wind instruments. They don’t feel like they would be successful at the university level in non-performance courses.

Having a set of vibes at Jazz Jam gets the drummers involved in this process. I firmly believe that it will make a difference in their feelings about their own capability in a theory or ear training class. They have started playing the vibes more frequently in their school classrooms, as well, which improves our overall (already stellar) music programs. Having a melodic instrument for them to perform on at the jam session gets them in the game.“

– Craig Thomson, Mount Boucherie Secondary School Music Department / Yamaha Artist Educator / Coordinator, BC Interior Jazz Festival / 2013 Okanagan Musician of the Year


Come out and have a listen at Jazz Jam, Thursdays from 5-7 PM. Click here for dates.

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