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North Vancouver band students take part in first school district-wide jazz festival

November 25, 2019

pic-1web-jpg.jpgBand students from all six North Vancouver high schools take part in the first North Vancouver School District Jazz Festival, which was hosted at Carson Graham Secondary on Saturday and included a full day of performances and music clinics.


by Ben Bengtson, North Shore News


A flurry of sound echoes through the hallways of a North Vancouver high school.

Although it’s a Saturday, students dressed in sharp black attire can be seen bustling from one room to the next at Carson Graham Secondary.

And for once, the kids are being encouraged to be loud – but it’s not the usual sounds of youthful laughter and rip-roaring energy produced by a healthy dollop of teenage rebellion that are making soundwaves here. These students are all musicians. They’re walking around tuning big brass instruments, strumming guitars, and proving that any solid mass can become a drum set if it’s treated the right way.    

Jake Rubin, a Grade 12 student at Argyle Secondary, has been playing classical piano since he was five years old, but he really took to jazz music a few years ago.

He notes a great truism about the genre of music that Art Blakey once remarked “washes away the dust of everyday life”: that it’s not so much about the notes you’re playing as it is about the way that it feels.

“I love the atmosphere behind it, all the harmonies you can make out of it, and the fact that you can play any note along with any chord and it usually sounds good,” he jests. “It’s really cool.”

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Rubin was one of approximately 130 students from all six North Vancouver high schools who turned up on Saturday for the first North Vancouver School District Jazz Festival.

Organized and founded by Carson band director Kevin Yang and Argyle band director Diana Chan, the purpose of the one-day event was to take get students out of their usual classroom environments and interacting with their fellow young musicians on the North Shore.

“Every single school has one or two jazz bands, and we all have very vibrant programs and students. The reason we why wanted to create a festival this year is because sometimes we are all in our own classrooms doing our own thing and may not know what is happening on the North Shore, which is exactly why we want to get kids together,” said Chan.