In the lead up to Fort Langley’s inaugural Jazz & Arts Festival this summer, a number of the participants were announced this weekend.
Among performances by a local dixieland jazz band, RazzMaJass Ensemble, and a blessing from a Kwantlen First Nation’s elder, a list of pro jazz bands were divulged in Front of the Fort Langley Community Hall on Saturday.
During the kickoff that morning, organizers David Quinn and Karen Zukas revealed details including the name of several musical acts that will be performing at the July 28 event: Van Django, Rumba Calzada, Milesl Black Quartet with guest vocalist and rising talent, Julie Copeman-Haynes, the Wow Jazz Orchestra, the City Soul Choir, Louie Quinn Band, Q5, and the Murray Porter Blues Band.
Alongside the music, the festival will feature a self-guided artwalk of local art galleries and studios, clay sculpture demonstrations by local artist, Elaine Brewer-White and a clay station where attendees can help build Fort Langley Jazz Town.
Art studios and galleries to tour on the artwalk include: Elaine Brewer-White Ceramic Studio, Judy Nygren Studio, Susan Gallick Studio, Fort Finery, Number 52 Studio and Gallery, Brandon Gabriel at Lelem Art & Cultural Cafe , Janice Robertson, Alan Wylie Studio, FLAG, the Fort Gallery, Linda Muttit Studio, The Kube Gallery, and Kizmit Gallery.
Artwork from the studios and galleries will also be featured in an exhibition tent by the Fort Langley Community Hall. Pieces on view will be part of an art auction in the evening at the community dance. The festival is a result of a group of community-spirited individuals from civic, business, and artistic enterprises that saw the need and the unique opportunity to bring together live jazz music and visual art in Fort Langley explained Zukas, the festival’s executive director.
“What started as an idea and a few conversations late last year, quickly grew into a reality after the favourable support and interest we received for the festival from local community groups and businesses,” she said.
“This is a community that truly appreciates music, the arts, and culture, and the Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival will be a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy world-class music and the work of talented artists here in our own backyard,” said Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese.
“We look forward to welcoming the first annual festival this summer and encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a free, fun day of live music, art, dancing, and entertainment for all ages,” he added.
The Fort Langley Community Improvement Society, which is responsible for the community hall, signed on as the presenting sponsor for the Festival because it meets the mandate of the society to support musical and theatrical performances and visual art displays in the community. “Since 1924, our members have volunteered to participate, organize and promote worthwhile events that bring together the community and provide an enjoyable, educational and entertaining experience,” said Robert Symington, acting president of the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society. “The Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival promises to be a very exciting and positive occasion that will benefit residents and merchants alike and will bring a prominent summer event that celebrates the arts to the community.”
The Fort Langley Business Improvement Association is also behind the inaugural festival. “We are excited to welcome the first annual Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival to our historic village,” said Meghan Neufeld, executive director of the Fort Langley Business Improvement Association. “Fort Langley is well known throughout the region as a hub for established and upcoming artists. We are thrilled to showcase our thriving arts community and look forward to seeing this event grow in the years to come,” said Neufeld.
The festival wraps-up in the evening with the only ticketed event, a Tribute to Motown dance at the community hall organized by Quinn, the festival artistic director and a Fort Langley jazz musician.
“We’re bringing in a scorching 12-piece band of seasoned musicians and some of Vancouver’s most talented vocalists who will cover music from the Motown period,” said Quinn.
Quinn is also organizing a free jazz education and workshop for young and emerging jazz artists on Sunday, July 29 from noon to 4 p.m. at the community hall.
“If you’re a student musician or emerging jazz musician who is influenced by jazz music, you won’t want to miss the festival’s education workshop and jazz jam session with music educators and professional musicians”, said Quinn. Interested musicians can register for the workshop on the festival’s website.
For more information about the festival, including volunteer and busker opportunities, visit www.fortlangleyjazzfest.com.