The Nanaimo Big Band is playing on Courtenay, Oct. 17. Photo supplied (Robert B. Ell)

Nanaimo Big Band coming to Courtenay

If you’re into big band music, this is the night for you.

Since 1967, the Nanaimo Musicians’ Association Big Band has promoted the performance of big band music through jazz concerts and ballroom dances in the mid-Island area. Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at The Avalanche Bar, it’s our turn to hear why this 17-piece band has thrived that long, and how it has contributed so significantly to the local, regional and international jazz scene.

During its half-century, the band has given emerging talents their first step up to the professional scene and has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in music scholarships. Proceeds from Thursday’s show will provide scholarships for emerging talent from the mid-Island area.

A few of the band’s celebrated alumni are Diana Krall, Phil Dwyer, and Ingrid and Christine Jensen. Three years ago, saxophonist Connor Stewart left the band to pursue a career in New Orleans and tours around the world. Shortly after, award-winning high school altoist, Kenton Dick, who was invited to play at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, left to study at Berklee in Boston.

Instrumentally, the show will include Afro-Cuban, swing, blues and contemporary music. Compositions will include numbers by Basie, Rogers/Hart, Gershwin/Riddle and Porter/Crotty.

Admission is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Be there early if you plan on rendezvousing with friends; with the extended stage, the room will feel a bit more cozy than usual, and we expect to have a capacity/standing audience.

For more information about the Georgia Straight Jazz Society’s forthcoming Thursday night performances and an amazing gallery of past performances, please visit

The Avalanche Bar & Grill is located at 275 8th St., Courtenay.

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