Welcome to the new DYJOs!

Our first DYJO Recruitment Day is always an exciting one: Graham has his new promotions from DYJO2 to join the returning DYJO1 players from last season, and in DYJO2, I have the absolute delight of seeing new young musicians for the first time – they don’t know quite what to expect from DYJO, and I start the day having no idea what they can do!

Well, suffice to report that we had a splendid day with both bands. I was delighted with our new DYJO2: through the day we did some aural learning with my Quint Valley Blues (and explored blues improvisation), and made an excellent start on arranged charts covering swing, latin and funk grooves. Graham unwrapped a mixture of challenging charts, some familiar to old hands, and some brand new. At the end of the day, both bands played to parents – it’s always nice to overhear someone expressing amazement at how far they’ve come in just one day!

We still do have some spaces in DYJO2, in all sections, but particularly trombones, tenor saxes, piano and guitar – so if you do know any keen young musicians, point them our way, and suggest they come along to our next Recruitment Day on Saturday 13 October, 10am-4.30pm at St Nicholas’ RC Primary School, Ringswell Avenue, Exeter. (It would be very helpful if you could let us know you’re coming by emailing secretary@dyjo.org, if you do intend to be there!)

Here’s DYJO1 in full flow at the end of the day!

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DYJO farewells…

Last night was the occasion when we said farewell to several players leaving DYJO for the next chapter in their lives. Playing to a packed Exeter School Music Hall, both bands gave wonderfully spirited performances from the past year’s repertoire, with friends and families cheering every solo from all round both bands. We witnessed the standard-but-exceptional strength-in-depth that we get accustomed to in DYJO.

It’s a larger than normal cohort who leave this year, but the sadness of losing so many fine & devoted players is tempered by three considerations: firstly, we hope we’ve helped inspire a lifelong love of jazz and big band, and that leaving players will continue to play wherever they go; secondly, their leaving gives the opportunity for DYJO2 players to fill their shoes and step up to the challenges set by Graham in DYJO1; and thirdly, we now have plenty of spaces in DYJO2 for new players to come and get their first taste of DYJO!

Maybe, just maybe, some of those young musicians don’t yet realise how profound an effect coming along to join in our little project might have on their lives…

In the meantime, big DYJO thanks to all the leaving players and their parents for all your dedication and inspiring performances (it’s that that gives DYJO its never-ending energy) – we hope that you have a great time wherever you are going, and you’ll come back whenever you can to inspire the next generations of young musicians!

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