Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Londoners just don’t realize the great wealth of music that resides here. Example: The Western Jazz Ensemble that played to a packed house during the London Jazz Society’s gig March 9 at the Mocha Shrine Centre on Colborne St.
The mostly greying devotees at the Society gave its 25 members a standing ovation, and in true jazz fashion to show their enjoyment, applauded throughout the gig.
These young men and women are primarily trained in classical music, but study jazz twice a week, says Dr. Kevin Watson, assistant professor of Music Education, Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University.
Some also play in a smaller jazz chamber group on campus led by Barry Usher.
During these days of low employment, I wondered, is there sufficient demand for them when they graduate?  He replied: “There is a variety of career aspirations in the group. Many will seek to become music artist/educators, mixing teaching with performing. Some are studying music composition and hope to establish themselves as composers. A few of the members are in non-music degree programs (e.g., business school, environmental science).”
All of the members are selected for the Jazz Ensemble by auditioning. There is a mixture of first year through graduate students in the program. A degree in the program usually takes about four years.
You can learn more by clicking on their website. Be sure to listen to their music on the Youtube site shown. www.music.uwo.ca
The London Jazz Society donates money regularly to Western's jazz program in honour of founder Doris Jackson.

Kevin Watson accepts $8,000 cheque from Barbara Wenman, president, London Jazz Society.

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