FOUNDED IN 1999 by the Late Dennis Barr
The monies raised from the Festival are utilised for various initiatives, especially in disadvantaged communities. At present the Festival is supporting Manenberg High School in its endeavour to provide its learners, by and large consisting of youth at risk, with music education. The Festival sponsor a teacher for their Steelband Project, and in 2011 we purchased a set of marimbas for the school. Also, we provided various musical instruments to enable the school to start a jazz ensemble.
In 2012 the Festival took Ned Doman Secondary School, Athlone under its wing. This is another school, which consists of youth at risk, and we have instituted two music programmes there. In May 2012 the Festival purchased a set of marimbas for the school. A teacher from Woodworxmarimbas teaches there once a week and already there is a long waiting list of other youth who wish to participate. The Steelband Project, also sponsored by the Festival visit the school once a week for steelpan lessons.
In September 2016 we added Mount View High School, Hanover Park to our school initiative projects. We purchased a set of marimbas for the school and Grant from Woodworxmarimbas teaches there.
The Festival also supports the Beau Soleil Music for the Africa Trust. This initiative was formed by the Beau Soleil Music College in 2003 and is a development programme for youngsters from disadvantaged areas.
- focuses on supporting music education in the big band jazz format for school and college students in the community
- proceeds from the Festival go towards scholarships in the jazz studies programme at SA College of Music. Sponsorship to the Beau Soleil Music for the Africa Trust. Sponsorship of a music teacher at Manenberg High School for their Steelband Project, and donations to participating bands and other music initiatives in the community
- musical instrument donations have also been made to Beau Soleil Africa Trust, Athlone Music Academy, York Road Primary School, Lansdowne as well as Eluxolweni Primary School, Khayelitsha. 2011 sponsored set of Marimbas for Manenberg High School, 2012 sponsored a set of Marimbas for Ned Doman Secondary School. Sponsored a set of marimba for Mount View High School. During the course of the year we also donated musicial instruments to the Delft Big Band Project as well as to music projects at Steenberg High School.
- provides an opportunity for young musicians to display their talents to a knowledgeable and appreciative audience at a prestigious event. And to assess their performance by comparison with the other bands in a non-competitive environment.
- encourages young musicians, presently at a primary and secondary level, to develop their talents through further education at tertiary level, leading to a career in music.
- assists in widening young people’s participation in playing a style of music familiar to their culture across the community.
- reflects a world-wide resurgence in popularity of the big band swinging sound of exponents such as, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Gerry Bosman as well as encouraging the performance of music composed and arranged by South African musicians.
- promotes awareness of the big band jazz style, gaining young fans and reviving fond memories of the swing era for many older fans.
- attracts growing support from the business and public community.
- associated with and supported by the S.A. College of Music.
Seniors Concert The Festival invites service organisations such as Lions and Rotary who provide transport, to bring seniors from the community to join us on the Saturday morning of the Festival, where they are entertained by various big bands. This is a very popular event which has the seniors tapping their feet and full of praise for the young musicians.
Chisa Community Outreach Project which is held on the Saturday afternoon of the Festival, is a special performance to an invited audience of 620 youngsters from the disadvantaged community, they are entertained by a number of music groups. This is always a great success and we could possibly fill the Concert Hall twice over.