Jazz society concluding 2011 with big band sound

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society offers its last concert of the year this Thursday evening at the Elks’ on Sixth Street.

SINGER JACKI ZBIRUN will perform Thursday with the Georgia Strait Big Band at the Elks hall in Courtenay. So will guest musician Rachel Fuller and young vocalist Tonja Maslin.

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society offers its last concert of the year this Thursday evening at the Elks’ on Sixth Street in downtown Courtenay.

You are promised a special evening of swing and vocal music when special guests take the stage at this Thursday’s performance by the Georgia Strait Big Band.

We are promised some new material, including big band arrangements of seasonal favourites. Well into another super successful season, the band will introduce its new principal vocalist, Jacki Zbirun, who has been singing and performing internationally for over 35 years.

Jacki’s love of music and singing has taken her throughout the world, on to musical theatre stage and into the recording studio. Jacki was a long time resident of Hornby Island and is now living in Merville. Jacki also performs with the Just in Time Vocal Jazz and teaches music at Royston Elementary school.

Also special this evening will be the moment when guest musician Rachel Fuller joins the band for an exceptional tune called Passing The Buck, written and arranged by conductor Greg Bush (as a parting gift to the great Stephen Buck, when he moved to the B.C. interior).

After graduating with a first-class honours degree in music performance, Rachel toured the globe specializing in alto sax and clarinet. Now residing and performing in the Comox Valley, Rachel teaches at Motif Music Studios, providing instruction in soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet.

Another particular treat will be an inaugural performance on the Elks’ stage by 15-year-old vocalist Tonja Maslin, who will join the band for two songs.

Tonja is a participant in the GS Big Band’s rookie vocal program, which included an excellent vocal performance at the Georgia Strait Big Band’s July 1 performance at the Native Sons’ Hall. Tonja is a student of local vocal coach Jenn Forsland.

Of special note, conductor Bush has now eclipsed over 200 trips to the Comox Valley in the past five years, to support, and direct the Georgia Strait Big Band. Greg is a resident of Nanaimo and a professor of jazz studies at Vancouver Island University.

Greg is an awesome conductor, world-class musician and composer.

The entire Big Band personnel present and past, thank Greg for his loyalty to the Georgia Strait Big Band and acknowledge his support of music in the Comox Valley, and dedicate Thursday’s performance to him as a Christmas present in response to his dedication and leadership.

Particularly encouraging, the Georgia Straight Jazz Society (GSJS) has recently received a wave of inquiries from young people, wanting to know whether there is an age restriction for attending jazz at the Elks’. There is no restriction and students are especially welcome.

The GSJS wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, especially Society members and those many others who regularly or occasionally attend the shows.

Thursday night jazz will return to the Elks’ on Jan. 5, when Nueva Banda opens our 2012 season with its Latin rhythms.

For more information about the Society and its forthcoming activities, visit www.georgiastraightjazz.com.

— Georgia Straight Jazz Society


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