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Jazz giants lay down the horns in Calgary

Musical masters pass knowledge to Calgary teens

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been performing in New York City for more than 50 years.

Courtesy Kengo Osaka

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been performing in New York City for more than 50 years.

Music is like a toolbox.

For Grade 12 student Anna Svikhnushin, playing classical piano was akin to opening that toolbox, unfurling a blue print and creating a melody as intended by the instructions.

“Jazz is more, you’re given the toolbox, then free to make what you want,” said Svikhnushin, giddy and excited for her upcoming workshop with the New York City’s famed Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

“These jazz giants that are coming – it’s an air of awestruck attitudes, to get inspired and think that one day we might be like them,” she said.

In addition to a public performance, the orchestra will also be working with local high school jazz ensembles, from the trumpets to trombones, to help them with teir music.

“We like to discuss how we interpret the music,” said orchestra artistic director Dick Oatts. “Making young people aware this music is out there, and it’s kind of an important thing to grow from.”

Oatts said jazz music is an art-form the challenges the player, and the audience. It’s a different experience than going to the movies.

“It’s not spoon fed to you,” he said. “Like any great artists, we’re not there to shock and awe you. You have to come in and try to understand the beauty of the music. It’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge.”

The band performs at Arts Commons on April 14. For more information, visit www.artscommons.ca.

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