One of the more interesting things JazzWorks has done in recent years is a present series of workshops in the so-called "off season" — that is, the time between one jazz camp and the next. The aim is to build on the jazz camp experience — to reinforce the lessons learned and maintain the enthusiasm created.
While there is no way the jazz camp experience can be recreated in November or April — for that, the participants would have to show up on three-hours sleep and wearing ugly T-shirts — the off-season work can build excitement, heighten expertise and, of course, help us endure the cold months.
Past workshops have focused largely on instrumentalists. The three-workshop series beginning April 12, will be for singers. It follows on the success of the recent workshops and concert by vocalist Vinx.
Those who have been at jazz camp in recent years will know Sharada Banman's work. She is a fine singer and a natural teacher. JazzWorks artistic director John Geggie has known Sharada for many years and worked with her in both performance and educational contexts. "In addition to her excellent teaching credentials," John says, "she is a great singer who embodies all the best qualities of an engaging jazz singer - great voice, great intonation and phrasing, knowledge of the art form, knowledge of tunes as well as her own arrangements and of course, great commitment and compassion - you want to hear her sing and tell you a story."
John notes that what Sharada is proposing is a comprehensive program of essential skills for anyone aspiring to sing jazz in public, beginning with learning a new tune in your personal style. "There are so many aspects of her complete three-session workshop that go the heart of the needs of singers these days, John says. "People will learn so much as well as get a chance to sing in master classes and get feedback on the basics of jazz singing as well as the finer points of the craft. The basics in terms of knowing one's vocal range, picking one's key, getting the right tunes, being responsible for creating a lead sheet as well as the aesthetics of jazz singing will all be covered. These topics are so important and they never get old."
John urges singers at all levels to come to the first session at Festival House, check out the wealth of knowledge Sharada can share with you and perhaps sign up for all three sessions. The second and third sessions are on May 24 and June 14. For all the relevant info, check out our Vocal Series event page.
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About this blog
Tune Up won't be a calendar of events — Ottawa Jazz Happenings takes care of that. But it will discuss events and issues of interest to the JazzWorks community. Journalist, author, trumpet player and a jazz camper since 1999, Charley Gordon is a former vice-president of JazzWorks.