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VJC Zoom Hang for VJC webpage

ABOUT the VJC Alumni Band


Founded in 2016, the Valley Jazz Cooperative has consistently provided a wonderful space in which younger musicians could explore their creativity together in a  supportive environment. With the VJC's move to Scottsdale's Ravenscroft in December 2021, we now have a location in which we can launch an alumni band. And this aligns very well with the number of former members now in our community. (We've probably achieved some form of "critical mass" here after enough years together!)

So in the summer of 2022, we were delighted to launch a VJC Alumni Band. In fact, we will form an Alumni Band annually in the early part of each summer, rehearsing in June and early July. (There will probably only be about five or six weeks of rehearsals before a performance.) The time frame has been chosen in the hopes that recent HS graduates who are going to college out of state can have an opportunity to be back with us then, should they be returning home to AZ for the summer.

The VJC Alumni Band rehearses on Tuesday nights at Ravenscroft, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. The size of the ensemble will depend on your collective interest; it might be a combo or it could be a full jazz ensemble. Any VJC Alum in good standing is welcome to join and play, including all VJC Online ensemble performers who never got to play with the group live/in-person during the height of the pandemic. From an instrumentation standpoint, if we end up having five guitarists interested in playing, we'll have to figure out what that means and how we can involve as many people as possible. But we can worry about those sorts of issues after we figure out who all is interested each year.

One more note on instrumentation concerns here: Current HS students who have been in the VJC are also welcome to participate, but if they duplicate an instrument that a college-age alum also wants to play, we may ask the HS student to step aside or move to a different instrument to allow the longer-term alum to play on their preferred instrument. If that instrument is something like baritone sax, it may be easier to move the HS student to another slot in the saxophone section. But if it is a rhythm section slot, that may be a more difficult challenge to work around. Please know we'll do our best to involve as many interested parties as we can.

The final thing that comes to mind? We want this to be a great experience, both musically and socially. The past couple of years have been incredibly difficult for so many people. Having a communal, creative experience can truly be soul-restoring. If you need your cup refilled, and want to do so in a fun, nurturing environment, this might be a great place for you to be on Tuesday nights each summer. I truly hope you might consider it.


Russell Schimdt

Director, Valley Jazz Cooperative

NOTE: If you are interested in participating in the VJC Alumni Band, you don't have to fill out an online application. Just reach out to Russ directly via email in April or May. He will provide more information. And together we will assess the level of interest, the instrumentation we will have to work with, and so forth. Many thanks for your continued interest and consideration, friends!

SCHEDULE INFO: For those wondering what the overall time commitment might look like to participate, here was the 2022 rehearsal schedule for the inaugural VJC Alumni Band: Rehearsals on Tuesday nights for five weeks (6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28, and 7/5). Then a concert performance at Ravenscroft on Saturday evening, 7/9. 

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