This is Aya Sekine, one of the directors of WLJ SG.
It’s been a month since we have completed our biggest project since our inception last September. The month of April was a little crazy for all of us, so it took us a while to look back and reflect – let me walk you through how we were involved!
We did it! : Jazz At the Red Dot (JARD) Workshop 2017
It’s a long story and going backwards, but just to give you a summary, on 16th April Sunday, we have finished our first mega project in partnership with non-profit Jazz Asia. This inaugural 9-day Jazz At The RedDot Workshop was programmed by New York City based guitarist / educator Rory Stuart and his exciting 6 other faculty members were consisted of hottest of the NY Jazz scene and that means the world : Camila Meza (vocal) Jason Palmer (trumpet) John Ellis (saxophone) Aaron Goldberg (piano) Ben Williams (bass) and Gregory Hutchinson (drums) – how about this crazy line up!
WLJ SG’s role for JARD 2017
We were referred to Jazz Asia from interesting places, and just as we wanted to reach out to them, they came to us from the right source. We felt it was a meant-to-be work for us. We are jazz-activists who believe in indigenous roots, and in inclusive sharing spirit of the knowledge and community building – which this workshop was all about. We are hungry for inspirations, and so we took the offer because we felt this initiative was really good for our jazz & improvised music community of Singapore.
Our task was mainly in management and operation of the workshop, providing logistics, administrative, marketing and operations support which started about a month prior to the workshop.
The project manager was Dawn Ho, one of our directors, assisted by Clarice Handoko, a friend and a new addition to our team (coincidently, they are both jazz vocalists, and yoga lovers). They have worked hard to gather & helm a team of 19 (4 managers and 15 admins) operating the workshop on the day-to-day basis, including liaising with the program director Rory Stuart (The New School Of Music) and Munib Madni, the executive director of Jazz-Asia.
Our team had our head quarter office set-up at *SCAPE, run our daily tasks such as ushering students to respective class rooms, supplying photocopies and giving directions to faculties who are new to Singapore – we are the hands and legs of the people.
We have also prepared a survey form (paper, and Google Drive both) to get a feedback from the participants. Together with JA, we believe this is a really important part because if we will continue to work on this project, it has to improve. Our team, JA directors and Rory are all very focused in smallest detail for workshop quality, admin, and also for us, our own internal management.
Photos by Beng Hui Eu
Despite the hard hard workload especially for the on-site managers (Dawn, Rafee & Kimberly) we gained new friendships, loads of inspirations and an outlook for bright future of even better version – JARD 2018.
Voluntary jazz appreciation workshop project at Spectra Secondary School with The US Embassy
Besides running JARD workshop, we were also assigned to facilitate/co-program a voluntary Jazz appreciation workshop at Spectra Secondary School in Woodlands, with JARD faculties performing and sharing their love for this indigenous music of America, Jazz.
How this project came to us.
Spectra school is chaperoned by US Embassy who has sponsored the JARD graduation concert at the Singapore Botanical Gardens, so in return with thanks, JA’s founder Munib asked if we would like to program and manage it on a voluntary basis, and of course, yes! Myself as the main coordinator for this particular event, it was such an amazing journey working with Mr. Syed Abdillah (Spectra), Ms. Allyson Coyne (US Embassy) and with JARD program director Rory – I believe we’ve all learned so much through this experience, from kids and faculty of this very special school.
This was a spectacular collaboration in many ways. First of all, Spectra Secondary school is an AMAZING place to be. When we visited the school for the first time for the meeting, the program coordinator Syed took us around and we (Munib, Allyson and myself) were all equally impressed how thought-out the school system was, not to mention how kids were all smiling and greeting us every time we bumped into them!
Spectra Secondary School is ‘a specialized school for Normal Technical students’ according to their website. Their school vision of “Every student equipped to lead a fulfilling life.” also the school principal quotes from African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child.” – these resonated with us so strongly, we felt it was really the right occasion, to be involved in this project via Jazz at The RedDot initiative. Please do go to their school website, and read their school philosophy and mission & vision. It’s really what all humans must believe in…Do read about Spectra’s vision [ here ].
Going back to the workshop – instead of putting an album with our iPhone snaps, why not you please take a look at this beautiful album “Jazz @ Spectra” by the school on their Facebook page : [ Here ]
We would like to thank Spectra school’s fabulous faculty – Syed, Nuriman, all the teachers accompanying kids, and the US Embassy for bringing us this opportunity to work with music and people who are so strong, pushing forward their beliefs. We are very fortunate to have been part of it! From WLJ SG team, Namie joined to help me move the instruments around and manage things with me. By the way, the instruments we used for the workshop were fully sponsored by The Analog Factory (TAF) – these guys are a true gem. Thank you Keith and TAF for your generous support for this very important initiative.
Now a real THANK YOU, JARD 2017!
So the crazy 2 weeks have ended safely, and we would like to finally thank everyone.
Firstly, to the people who inspired all of us to the bones – the faculty : Rory Stuart (guitar), Camila Meza (vocal), Jason Palmer (trumpet), John Ellis (saxophone), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Ben Williams (bass) and Gregory Hutchinson (drums) – we really needed all the teachings from them (even though most of us were busy running around, we still had opportunities to sit-in in the bigger classes).
Thank you to the big contributors behind the scene : Clement Chow, The Analog Factory, The US Embassy of Singapore, Bass Loft & Brandon Wong for contributing generously to make this initiative happen!
Also we would like to thank our passionate supporter, Mr. Dan Cerf, who has given a scholarship for an individual who is driven and with artistic integrity : James Gunawan was carefully selected by Mr.Cerf out of all the application and their vision for jazz community of Singapore. You can read James’ reflection about the workshop [ here ]
And we would like to thank all 70 participants of the workshop, the ambassadors and LITP (Local Teacher Instruction Program) personnels, everyone who came out to Singapore Botanical Garden for the graduation concert, all Jazz-Asia staff, and Munib ‘DLL’ Madni, for believing in WLJ SG.
And last but not least, yay to Team WLJ SG :
Project manager : Dawn Ho
Operation manager : Clarice Handoko
On-site Managers : Rafee & Kimberly
Administrative crew : Marian, Adeline, Beatrice, Carissa, Kelly, Kim, Marian, Munees, Regina, Samantha, Seraphina, Shiang Ting, Torey
HQ crew : Ashlee, Namie, Aya
Next year, we will up our game so we can get even more inspirations, milk the occasion to the maximum!
See you all at JARD 2018!
What’s next? : SPEAKLOW! Speakeasy Music Sessions Vol.8
After JARD 2017, we have organised UNESCO’s International Jazz Day 2017 which we have shared some photos on our Facebook page, but now we are preparing for upcoming event : 27th May 2-5pm SPEAKLOW! Speakeasy Music Sessions Vol.8 with phenomenal Japanese jazz vocal / improvisor Shun Sakai. This event is also special as we collaborate with new venue partner Palm Avenue Float Club, Kembangan!
This event will be partially a participatory improvisation workshop with voice – no need to be a vocalist to join, but please make sure you sign up immediately when we publish the event, as it is limited to 25 people! PAFC Kembangan is such a cozy little space, we love it so much.
See you on 27th May, Saturday. It’s an afternoon event, we will be done by 6pm. Details coming up very soon – do mark the date for now 🙂
And don’t forget to sign-up to our mailing list from [ HERE! ] newsletter coming soon!