In celebration of Worldwide Jazz Day, we had the honour of interviewing Mrs Sandra Chang, the Board Director of the Jazz Affiliation (Singapore) (JASS). As an avid jazz listener, Mrs Chang needs to deliver her love for the music to a wider viewers, therefore, she goals to rework the city-state into a number one vacation spot for jazz by her participation in JASS.
Forward, we discover out extra about JASS and its pivotal function in elevating the jazz expertise in Singapore… additionally, Mrs Chang shares about her favorite locations to relax and indulge within the music.
When was Jazz Affiliation (Singapore) created in Singapore, inform us extra about its mission and what has been achieved to date?
Jazz Affiliation (Singapore), often known as JASS, was based in September 2016 with the goal of selling the participation, engagement, and excellence of jazz in Singapore. In March 2017, we have been accorded charity standing in Singapore. Subsequently, JASS was accepted as an Establishment of a Public Character (IPC) from 23 November 2018 to 22 Might 2021.
Our imaginative and prescient is to be a centre of excellence for jazz in Singapore, to deliver the enjoyment of jazz to folks from all walks of life and throughout numerous communities, and to make Singapore a number one metropolis of jazz.
Our mission is to play a robust half in lifting the Singapore jazz scene to new heights by:
- Forming a core pool of established, professional-level jazz musicians and facilitating persevering with schooling in jazz
- Taking part in a significant function in bridging the wants of the viewers with these of jazz practitioners and different arts teams’ targets
- Leveraging jazz as a unifying pressure to advertise interplay, cohesion and inclusiveness amongst our numerous communities in Singapore
- Making Singapore a nexus for collaborations between Singaporean and worldwide jazz musicians
- Creating Singapore a vibrant metropolis for jazz for Singaporeans, residents and guests alike
- Supporting eligible native jazz musicians impacted by the disaster with short-term monetary support
We’re celebrating our 5th anniversary this 12 months. Through the course of shut to 5 years, the 2 orchestras, Jazz Affiliation Singapore Orchestra (JASSO) and Jazz Affiliation Singapore Youth Orchestra (JASSYO!), have gone around the globe to carry out at varied prestigious worldwide jazz festivals such because the EFG London Jazz Pageant, the Jazz Training Community (JEN) Convention in Reno, the JZ Shanghai Pageant, the Thailand Worldwide Jazz Convention, the Borneo Jazz Pageant, in addition to the Singapore Worldwide Jazz Pageant (or Sing Jazz) held in Singapore.
JASS additionally launched the Lion Metropolis Youth Jazz Pageant amongst many different vital key occasions domestically, resembling Jazz It Up! A Jazzy Celebration of Chinese language Songs (in collaboration with the Singapore Chinese language Cultural Centre (SCCC)) and the JASSO Pinnacle Live performance, as a part of our efforts to deliver jazz to the broader communities and domesticate new audiences in Singapore. In response to the pandemic, we additionally shortly responded by rolling out quite a few free on-line [email protected] performances to deliver respite to all domestically and globally.
As JASS is a charity reliant on type donations to maintain our work, we held the our inaugural fundraising jazz gala “Ella 100, Jazz Ceaselessly” in 2017 and adopted up with “Some Enchanted Night” in 2019. Most not too long ago, we held the first-ever digital jazz gala dinner in Singapore “Let There Be Love” which harnessed extended-reality know-how to deliver collectively a seamless efficiency that includes jazz diva Laura Fygi based mostly in Amsterdam and our JASS Music Director Jeremy Monteiro and the JASSO Ensemble based mostly in Singapore. It was great with the ability to expertise the help and love from our companions, supporters and donors alike, regardless of such unsure instances.
You could have an fascinating mixture of personalities sitting on the Board of the Jazz Affiliation, inform us extra about these numerous profiles.
I’m honoured to be working alongside a robust, dedicated and numerous Board comprising Dr Edmund Lam as Chairman, Mrs Susan Peh as Vice-Chairman, Mr Abdullah Tarmugi as Treasurer in addition to Professor Jeremy Monteiro (who can also be the JASS Govt Director & Music Director), Ms Karen Li-Mei Chan and Ms Sally Liew as my fellow Administrators. JASS can also be honoured to have Professor Tommy Koh as Patron and Mr Albert Chiu as Honorary Chairman.
Collectively, their robust management has guided JASS from its infancy to the place it’s at present, and steadied us by the pandemic. Every of our board members brings to the desk an array of distinctive views stemming from their very own numerous backgrounds, enabling JASS to remain forward of the present arts scene and chart new territories with confidence.
As a jazz lover in Singapore, I’m heartened that I can indulge my ardour for jazz and be part of this significant work that JASS does in its efforts to raise Singapore jazz.
You could have simply organised a “digital” gala dinner in help of the affiliation’s goal. A considerable quantity of funds has been raised in the course of the night. What have been the teachings realized from this “digital” jazz gala dinner – a primary in Singapore!
Preparations for the “Let There Be Love” gala began means again in 2019 as initially the plan was to carry a “stay” gala in July 2020. In fact, with all issues, it was disrupted by the pandemic however we have been very grateful to the sort donors and supporters who expressed understanding and stayed the course with us as we turned our efforts to rework the occasion right into a “digital” gala. Over S$650,000 was raised by our first digital gala dinner which can also be Singapore’s first digital jazz gala. In view of the very difficult local weather, we’re deeply grateful to our companions, supporters and donors for his or her unwavering help.
Whereas there have been many classes, I feel the best is what our Visitor-of-Honour Minister Edwin Tong mentioned in his speech in the course of the gala, which I consider resonated essentially the most with us: “Life is quite a bit like jazz…it’s greatest whenever you improvise (George Gershwin).” When the pandemic hit, we actually needed to dig deep and lean on the spirit of jazz which is improvisation and creativity to maintain our mission going.
Whereas the expertise of watching a digital efficiency isn’t the identical as that of watching a stay efficiency, the digital setting pushed us to consider inventive concepts to make the entire gala expertise a fascinating one nonetheless. I wish to say that I felt we managed to ship an incredible set of performances with the assistance of prolonged actuality (XR). I keep in mind being blown away by the performances, and with the ability to have the digital presence of worldwide jazz diva Laura Fygi with us that night was merely pleasant.
The principle three avenues of labor for the Jazz Affiliation in Singapore alongside the approaching 5 years?
JASS will stay steadfast in our work aligned to our imaginative and prescient and mission. We’ll proceed to develop jazz schooling, excellence and outreach in Singapore, in addition to strengthen cultural ties between Singapore and the remainder of the world. We intend to increase the jazz arts neighborhood, advance schooling by scholarships, deliver jazz to the broader communities, domesticate new audiences in Singapore by outreach actions, and help eligible native jazz musicians impacted by crises.
Within the coming three to 5 years, we additionally hope to develop extra programmes and performances that additional utilise the platform of jazz to raised attain out to the assorted segments of our neighborhood. For instance, we are going to proceed our efforts in youth growth by the Lion Metropolis Youth Jazz Pageant and scholarships, and inclusivity collaborations with Very Particular Arts Singapore. We additionally want to broaden the work we now have completed over the previous years; as an example, along with “Jazz It Up! A Jazzy Celebration of Chinese language Songs,” we’re planning to widen the Jazz It Up! sequence by together with Malay and Indian classics and giving them a jazzy therapy, by which we showcase Singapore’s musical heritage as a novel multi-cultural and multi-racial tapestry.
How massive is jazz at present in Singapore? What number of bands within the state-city and what number of jazz occasions staged in a non-covid 19 12 months?
Whereas it’s troublesome for us to supply an actual quantity, native jazz stalwart and Cultural Medallion recipient Professor Jeremy Monteiro (who serves as JASS Govt Director and Music Director), had shared an estimation with me that previous to COVID-19, there have been about 10-20 giant ticketed jazz live shows annually, and about 50 smaller ticketed or free reveals a 12 months at venues resembling Esplanade Concourse, open-air phases or locations just like the Botanic Gardens.
Personally, I discover the native jazz scene to be thriving as there had been many membership gigs taking place in jazz golf equipment, resembling Maduro earlier than the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, many performances and gigs have been affected as stay performances have been dropped at a halt, however the measures are easing up regularly as we monitor the scenario, and I’ve each confidence in our native jazz scene and in our musicians’ skill to adapt to the brand new norm.
From youngsters to seniors, is it simple in Singapore to seek out appropriate jazz courses or jazz academy?
I’m heartened that jazz is a now a Music Elective programme in our secondary colleges. In reality, in the course of the JASS’ Lion Metropolis Youth Jazz Pageant 2019’s finale live performance, Visitor-of-Honour Mr Ong Ye Kung, then-Training Minister, introduced that the O-level music syllabus had been revised to incorporate jazz to a lot applause from the viewers.
There’s additionally a level programme at LASALLE School of the Arts, by which a lot of our previous and present JASS Music Scholarship recipients are honing their artwork and build up essential data and abilities to be jazz musicians. The hobbyist of any age may search for music centres and lecturers who’ve the London School of Music graded jazz sequence, much like the opposite classical graded programme supplied by the Royal College of Music or Trinity School. Based mostly on change of knowledge with JASS Music Director Jeremy Monteiro, I perceive that presently the London School of Music programme is the one one which has a Grade 1 to Grade 8 programme in jazz together with the Affiliate, Licentiate and Fellowship ranges. And naturally, there are good lecturers within the native scene educating jazz privately or in music colleges resembling Mei Sheum (personal) and Jordan Wei (Raffles Music College) and several other others. What I’ve shared isn’t exhaustive and additionally it is our hope and ambition as JASS that the native jazz scene will proceed to thrive and deepen.
Pertaining extra particularly to JASS, we additionally conduct a number of Jazz Appreciation Talks and Jazz Technical Workshops yearly. For example, the Jazz Improvisation for Classical Musicians workshop for the general public to attend and be taught extra about jazz has been extremely popular. I attended one of many Jazz Appreciation Talks the place I actually loved exploring and understanding the evolution of jazz from the early 1900s by to the current day beneath the steerage of JASS Govt Director & Music Director, Professor Jeremy Monteiro, and his musician mates, who offered pleasant improvisations and performances of the style’s milestones alongside a dialogue on the completely different sub-genres of jazz, making it an interactive and fascinating session.
Certainly one of our pillars is native youth-musician growth and that’s certainly one of our foremost intentions behind the event of the Lion Metropolis Youth Jazz Pageant (LCYJF), which was launched in 2017. Held yearly, it’s a week-long bandstand studying programme inclusive of rehearsals and workshops involving worldwide jazz mentors, and it culminates in a ticketed finale live performance that includes each these esteemed jazz mentors and our youth orchestra, JASSYO!. Mentors over time have included Benny Golson, Randy Brecker, Lewis Nash, Carmen Bradford, Kenny Washington, Antonio Hart and extra.
What are your favorite locations to hearken to jazz in Singapore?
My favorite (Pre-Covid) locations are,
MADURO – the placement is right … small and intimate, you are feeling you’re in a non-public room with the musicians.
& “COOL CATS”… it jogs my memory of jazz golf equipment in Europe and the USA. A really “chillout” ambiance with jazz music.
You’re additionally a yacht lover. Have you ever staged jazz occasions on a yacht or by a marina?
Jazz has at all times been a part of the chosen music repertoire every time I’m onboard a yacht in Europe, Asia or different elements of the world. However up to now, I’ve not staged any jazz occasions on a yacht or by a marina. I need to say, it’s a WONDERFUL thought and collaboration to significantly ponder as yachts, marinas and jazz go collectively hand in glove…. Nothing fairly beats watching a good looking sundown onboard, in a relaxed mode, with “Cool Jazz” taking part in within the background.
In the event you have been to call one identify who has influenced you vastly on your love of jazz, who would that be?
The one shining individual in my life who has influenced me in my love for jazz is my late, older brother by 11 years. He launched an “intoxicating” tradition of jazz into our dwelling. From a really younger age, I used to be listening to Miles Davies, Dizzy Gillespie, The Russian Jazz Quartet, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson and lots of such illustrious artistes and Jazz Greats. From then on, I honed my very own love of jazz to the current day, attending live shows and jazz festivals across the globe. Jazz is now a vital a part of my DNA.