Archive for February, 2010


The Saxophone: A young innovative instrument for a young and innovative form of music.

February 25, 2010

A selection of early saxophones

The saxophone has become one of the core instruments used in jazz composition since the style inception in the early 1900’s, but many people may not realize that the Saxophone only predates jazz by just over 60 years.

The Saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax in the mid 1800’s. Adolfo was born in the small picturesque town of Dinnant, Belgium where his father worked as a musical instrument maker. Adolphe developed  his fathers passion of inventing new instruments, this led him to try and perfect a bass clarinet which evolved into the first saxophone.

Over many years the design of the saxophone was modified and perfected with the assistance of composer and friend Hector Berlioz. The saxophone was exhibited at the Paris Industrial Exhibition, this coincided with the performance of the fist choral works to include the saxophone composed by Berloiz. The saxophone was later that year included in orchestral performances in Paris. The instrument was also adopted and became popular with marching bands due to its sound, design and durability.

In 1846 Adolphe obtained a patent for the saxophone with its 14 variations and the following year a school was set up in Paris to teach the instrument.

It was not until 1885 that the first saxophone began to be made in North America where they became popular with military and marching bands. Many early jazz groups used the instruments from marching bands, this accessibility to the instrument lead it to become an integral part of early Jazz bands.

Today the saxophone is the instrument most synonymously linked with jazz with both feeding off the others success and development.

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February 23, 2010

Ashley Miles

Each week, WJB profiles one of its volunteers as part of its commitment to recognizing all their selfless contributions to our cause. This week, our featured volunteer is Ashley Miles.

As a newcomer to WJB in 2009, Ashley played a variety of high and low profile roles during the Wreckhouse International Jazz & Blues Festival. She spent two days helping us administer our programming from our Festival Headquarters. During our events, Ashley attended to our merchandise table and helped to distribute our audience surveys. Her enthusiasm at this year’s festival earned her a 2009 Rooky Volunteer Award.

Outside of her involvement with WJB, Ashley displays her passion for volunteering with animal care organizations. She donates her time with both Heavenly Creatures and Beagle Paws as a caregiver, foster pet-parent and caseworker. In the future, she plans on lending a hand with the upcoming Juno’s in April.

Ashley is 24 years old and is finishing her education in French, English and Communications at Memorial University. Additionally, she is employed full-time at the Canada Border Services Agency. Ashley’s interests include theatre, writing, film and staying active.

Our hats are tipped to you this week, Ashley!  Thanks for all your hard work


Hot Soup, Cool Jazz.

February 22, 2010

Wreckhouse Jazz & Blues is joining forces with Choices for Youth, the Jimmy Pratt Memorial Soup Kitchen, the NL division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and Vibrant Communities to host the 3rd Annual Hot Soup, Cool Jazz – a fundraising event to raise awareness of the housing and support needs of youth at risk and the impoverished of our community. Angela Antle and Karl Wells will play host to a gourmet soup tasting competition with soups provided by many of the fabulous Chef’s and restaurants of St. John’s. The festivities also include an exquisite bar of fine wines, both a silent and live auction and an exciting jazz concert to end out the evening.

As of 20th April 2010 tickets can no longer be purchased online however they are still available at the door.


Jazz and Blues Presenter to Expand Marketing Presence

February 22, 2010

Local jazz and blues music presenter, Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues, is initiating a marketing strategy to better target international audiences and performers and increase awareness of its year-round events. Greater marketing activities, with the assistance of the Provincial Government, support the organization’s objective of building the province’s brand as a world-class destination for music and linking local performers with international music promoters.

“Over the years, the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival has successfully expanded its scope from Newfoundland and Labrador to targeting performers and audiences from across North America and Europe,” said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. “By continuing to advance its marketing activities, it will create new opportunities for local artists to promote themselves, solicit other performance opportunities, and establish national and international collaborations.”

The Provincial Government’s $26,644 investment in the Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues marketing campaign builds on previous outreach initiatives that included trade missions to Chicago and Iceland. Additional activities will include the development of a new website, print materials, and advertising and public relations campaigns.

“With the development of a three-year marketing strategy, we will be able to work towards our goals of achieving the national and international recognition that is enjoyed by many of our counterparts within Jazz Festivals Canada, along with contributing to the promotion of local talent and our educational programming,” said Kirk Newhook, Executive/Artistic Director, Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues. “Enhanced marketing efforts will also help us better develop a corporate sponsorship program, thereby increasing community engagement and revenues, allowing us to secure headlining international artists.”

In addition to its week-long festival that is held in St. John’s in mid-July, Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues offers many events throughout the year to achieve its goal of promoting the enjoyment and appreciation of jazz, blues and world music in an already vibrant and nationally-recognized musical community.

“The Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival has emerged as an anchor attraction in the St. John’s area,” said Minister Skinner. “Along with entertaining thousands of people annually, it leads to significant direct and in-direct economic spin-offs.”

Incorporated in 2003, Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues is a non-profit organization with a mission to build a greater awareness for jazz, blues and world music and traditions through a year-round program of educational and performance events. It is the only organization dedicated to developing this music genre in the province.

This initiative was funded through the Regional/Sectoral Diversification Fund (RSDF), which through Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation was increased to an $8 million fund. Administered by the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, the RSDF provides non-repayable contributions to economic development agencies for initiatives that address regional and sectoral development and diversification.



February 22, 2010

The Association of Cultural Industries (ACI) Executive Director George Murray made a presentation to Minister of Finance Tom Marshall during pre-budget consultations held February 17 in St. John’s.

As an advocate for the professional cultural producers and organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador, ACI strongly believes it is time to start re-investing in the culture sector. Without a new strategic blueprint to follow the successful, ACI-researched Creative Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for the Development and Investment In Culture document, a three-year that ended in 2009, the best way to ensure the continued health and growth of the sector is to invest directly in the professional artists and artistic organizations of the province through the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC).

“The government is surely aware that culture sector investment is as important and timely as other kinds of infrastructure investment,” said George Murray. “When the oil runs out it will be our culture, heritage, and natural beauty that continue to drive our economy. Culture in Newfoundland and Labrador is an infinitely renewable resource, but we will always need to nurture and guard it closely to see it continue to flourish as a viable economic venture.”

A summary of ACI’s submission to the pre-budget consultation is copied below.


  • NLAC has the third lowest funding of an arts council, per capita, in Canada (at $4 per person, with MB, SK, AL, and PQ all at over $8; only PEI and NB are lower than NL)
  • The NLAC saw a 20% increase in solid project applications in the last grant period of 2009, but there was only $250,000 of funding available, with an ask of $1,000,000
  • This highlights the problems of a sector that is a victim of its own success
  • The growth and increased professionalization of the arts and culture sector over the last five years is attributable in part to the Williams government’s unprecedented investment (through the Creative Blueprint document of 2006-2009)
  • Momentum from this investment carried the increased development of the sector beyond 2009, but if no new investment comes this year, the culture sector is in danger experiencing an atrophy in not only growth and income, but offerings as well
  • Therefore, if there is one thing this budget can do to help the arts and culture sector this year, it is to increase the budget of the NLAC
  • ACI’s recommendation is to double the NLAC’s budget over the next three years, from $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 (per capita investment of $8)

Reasons to Support the Culture Sector


  • 82% of culture sector is knowledge-based (with 83% of workers nationally holding at least one post-secondary degree, compared to 62% of total labour force)
  • The culture sector accounts for over 3% of Canadian GDP, over $20 billion in annual sales, $20 billion in annual services, and $1.8 billion in exported goods
  • Cultural exports are growing at 15% annually
  • Since 1991, the cultural workforce has grown twice as fast as the general labour force (26% compared to 13%)
  • The culture sector employs 700,000 nationally and is growing at rate of 1% per annum


  • Culture is a key recruitment tool for bringing skilled labour and tourists to the province
  • The culture sector in NL is worth $400,000,000 annually
  • Phase 1 of Creative Newfoundland and Labrador created good national press for provincial government and goodwill from NL population
  • Creative Newfoundland and Labrador investments yielded not only more cultural enterprise, but helped professionalize the sector

Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council. Upcoming grant deadline: Professional Project Grants Program

February 22, 2010
The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC) is now accepting applications for its:
Professional Project Grants Program
(for individual artists, groups, and non-profit arts organizations)
Application deadline: 16 March 2010
(Projects must start on/after 15 May 2010)

Contact the NLAC for an application form and details:

The Newman Building, 1 Springdale Street, St. John’s
726-2212 or toll free 1 (866) 726-2212 (NL only)

WJB Volunteer of the Week

February 22, 2010

Recognition is central to a successful volunteer program. As part of WJB’s commitment to recognizing its volunteers, we will be featuring a different WJB volunteer each week, starting later this month.

The feature article will include details about each volunteer’s involvement with WJB, any other volunteering they may do in the community, and his or her other activities.

Interested in joining the team of WJB volunteers? Contact Adam, our volunteer coordinator by clicking here.

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