VJC @ RAVENSCROFT
Program Information & Application Form

The Valley Jazz Cooperative returned to offering in-person instruction in December 2021, with its educational programs housed at the Ravenscroft facility in Scottsdale. VJC @ Ravenscroft programs are offered free of charge to committed, eligible area music students (in grades 8 thru 12), following a successful placement audition. (Auditions take place annually in November, with audition dates and times being announced around mid-October.) VJC @ Ravenscroft rehearsals are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from early December through mid-May each school year.

After reading the general overview of VJC @ Ravenscroft activities below, please fill out the online application at the bottom of the page. And if you have additional questions about the program, please contact the VJC Director. Thank you.

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• Tuesdays @ 6:00-6:50 p.m. (early December to mid-April) - VJC Combo/Improvisation (hybrid ensemble/class)

This activity is intended to be similar to the old "VJC Hang", in which jazz theory and improvisation skills were explored and honed together after full ensemble rehearsals (at GCC/MCC). In this case, improvisation instruction will be the main focus within a combo/ensemble, creating a hybrid ensemble/class experience.

 

Two items to note: This program will not move forward with fewer than four participants. Also, unlike the large(r) ensembles, which will run annually through mid-May, this program will conclude in mid-April, as students grow more busy toward the end of their school year.

• Tuesdays @ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (early December to mid-May) - VJC Indigo Big Band (large ensemble)

This is first of our two large ensemble offerings. The Indigo Big Band often performs music by Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Bill Holman, Quincy Jones, Thad Jones, Melba Liston, Oliver Nelson, Sammy Nestico, Maria Schneider, Billy Strayhorn, and other historically great jazz composers and arrangers. The group also performs brand new repertoire from VJC Publications and from the pen of its director. 

 

The Indigo Big Band performs with at least one featured guest artist per season, and usually also participates in the Highland/ASU Jazz Festival (one of its few activities outside of Ravenscroft).

 

• Thursdays @ 6:00-6:50 p.m. (early December to mid-April) - VJC Combo/Improvisation (hybrid ensemble/class)

[This is the same info as is shown above for the Tuesdays @ 6:00 p.m. group.] This activity is intended to be similar to the old "VJC Hang", in which jazz theory and improvisation skills were explored and honed together after full ensemble rehearsals (at GCC/MCC). In this case, improvisation instruction will be the main focus within a combo/ensemble, creating a hybrid ensemble/class experience.

Two items to note: This program will not move forward with fewer than four participants. Also, unlike the large(r) ensembles, which will run annually through mid-May, this program will conclude in mid-April, as students grow more busy toward the end of their school year.

• Thursdays @ 7:00-8:30 p.m. (early December to mid-May) - VJC Sapphire Ensemble (large ensemble)

This is second of our two large ensemble offerings. The Thursdays @ 7:00 p.m. has still been growing since the return of in-person instruction. So its size remains dependent on the degree of student interest. (Perhaps there have been more conflicts with HS activities on Thursday nights than on Tuesdays.) This ensemble may be also be a full big band (in which case, it will be termed the Sapphire Big Band). However, depending on enrollment/participation, it may also be a "little big band" or an expanded combo (such as an octet). The repertoire performed by this group will be dependent on the type of music available for a group of its size. 

The Sapphire Ensemble also performs with at least one featured guest artist per season, and usually participates in the Highland/ASU Jazz Festival as well (again, one of its few activities outside of Ravenscroft).

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Some final thoughts...

1) Students interested in participating in VJC ensembles will need to play an audition, which will be scheduled after an online application has been completed and received. Auditions take place annually in November, with audition dates and times announced in mid-October. While students are welcome to fill out the audition form at any time in advance of an upcoming VJC season, it probably makes most sense to wait to do so until early October each year. (For instance, one's plans or availability might change, should you apply 3-4 months in advance.)

2) If a student wants to be in both the Indigo Big Band and Sapphire Ensemble and can attend two large ensemble rehearsals each week, they may do so, so long as such involvement doesn’t keep some other eligible student from participating.

3) Regarding the online application form below, please go ahead and toggle every option you might be considering. We would rather know up front that you are free on both Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., even if you only wish to play in one group. So in the “Additional comments” field, please clarify your actual interest. You could write something like one of the responses shown below:

I've toggled all four boxes, but would only be interested in driving to Ravenscroft on Tuesdays OR Thursdays. I am free both days after school, but I’d only like to be placed in two groups that meet on the same day.

 

I've toggled both of the later groups (Indigo and Sapphire), and I am free on both those evenings, but I only wish to be placed in one group.

 

I've toggled everything and hope to be placed in a couple of groups. I have listed multiple instruments and would ideally want to play saxophone in one group and guitar in another.

 

Thanks for providing information like that to help us better understand your level of interest and availability!

 

Interested in joining the VJC @ Ravenscroft? Please fill out the application form below, confirming your interest and commitment to participate. Within 48 hours of applying, you should receive an email response, providing pertinent follow-up information.