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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 we now have. (We've probably achieved some form of "critical mass" here after enough years together!)

So we are delighted to launch a VJC Alumni Band in 2022. We will form an Alumni Band annually in the early part of the summer, rehearsing in June and early July. (There will probably only be about five 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 will rehearse 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 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 bassists 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. (One more note here on instrumentation issues: 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—say, for instance, baritone saxophone—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.)

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 this 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 in June/July 2022, you don't have to fill out an online application. Just reach out to Russ directly via email. He will provide more information. And together we can 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!