Hitting the Right Notes

Hitting the right notes
South Delta Leader – Friday June 30th, 2007

By Philip Raphael

Jazz festival enters fourth year with expanded concert series

Judging by the number of faces Stephen Robb saw in the crowds flocking to last year’s edition of the South Delta Jazz Festival, locals love live music played in their own community.

And, fortunately for the week-long event, that fact hasn’t been lost of the event’s sponsors who have played a bigger role in helping get performers front and centre for its fourth year which gets underway Saturday (June 30) in the Breezeway area of the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall.

“Having a lot of people come out to the concerts is fabulous because so often people say there are not enough things to do locally,” says Robb, an instructor at the Delta Community Music School. “This gives people the opportunity to do something here and not have to go downtown, and stay on the south side of the tunnel for a change.”

It also provides student musicians of all ages the opportunity to attend the South Delta Jazz Workshop where they learn about jazz improvisation.

One of the highlights of the performance part of the festival is a series of free outdoor concerts. The biggest is on Canada Day at Diefenbaker Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s featured performers include the Red Onion Rhythm Kings, Zapato Negro, and the Len Aruliah Quintet.

South Delta Secondary’s music room will be a busy place during the following week as the Morgan Scott Quintet performs July 3, followed by Brad Muirhead and the South Delta Jazz Workshop faculty ensemble on July 4. Alan Matheson and the SDJW is up on July 5, and the Kevin Hoferer Qunitet entertains July 6. All performances start at 12:30 p.m. and admission is free. That evening, vocalist Steve Maddock will also perform at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m.

And on July 7, a group of local muscians from the South Delta Jazz Workshop will display their talents performing jazz standards and original compositions on an outdoor stage at Delta Hospital from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The festival concludes that night at 7:30 p.m. with the East Van Jazz Orchestra featuring some of Vancouver’s finest musicians on the stage of the Genesis Theatre at Delta Secondary school in Ladner.

Robb, who along with Jared Burrows helped get the festival off the ground in 2004, says the event brings with it a vibrancy that develops a further sense of community.

Plus, it’s a chance to experience some really great music.

“Getting things started in our first year it was really a labour of love,” Robb says. “We didn’t really have any funding, but we went ahead with the hope that in following years it would become a beneficial event.”

And after three editions, Robb says the festival has gained the stature he envisioned.

“I had thought that by our fifth year we’d have an event that matured and showcased music locally. I guess we’re a little ahead of that,” he says. “Now all we need is for the weather to be nice.”

n More information on the South Delta Jazz Festival is available at: www.southdeltajazzfestival.com

In tune— Zapato Negro will be among the groups performing at this year’s edition of the week-long South Delta Jazz Festival which gets underway Saturday. Contributed photo

Courtesy – South Delta Leader Newspaper

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