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SBA Prairielands Jazz Camp, 2018



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July 8-14, 2018, at the University of Regina (Riddell Centre)

The Saskatchewan Band Association is proud to include the well-respected Prairielands Jazz Camp to its summer Band Camp line-up!  Prairielands Jazz Camp is a unique opportunity for developing jazz musicians.  The camp brings together some of the best jazz performers and educators in Canada to provide young musicians a week of intensive jazz training.

Jazz Camp Activities

The Prairielands Jazz Camp is great for all ability levels and prior jazz experience is not necessary. Activities at camp are designed for different levels of playing ability so each participant can feel comfortable, yet challenged. The camp is open to students from grade 7 to 12.

Camp participants have the opportunity to study intensively with other youth of similar interests from across the province.  The camp utilizes a variety of formats to maximize learning while at all times remaining focused on each participant’s personal musical skill development.    

    Jazz camp activities include:

      • Improvisation and jazz theory
      • Big band rehearsals and sectionals
      • Combo experience for all participants
      • Instrument master classes each morning
      • 2 half-hour private lessons
      • Guided listening sessions
      • Student big band concert
      • Student combo concert
      • Staff big band concert
      • Staff combo concerts

    How to Register for Jazz Camp

    There are 2 key steps to register for Band Camp:

      1. Create (or Log-in if you have an account) your free Band Camp Family Account
      2.  Select Prairielands Jazz Camp from the band camp details page and follow the prompts to complete the registration process.
    Please Note:   Your Band Camp Family Account will link any child you register directly to your account, streamlining the registration process and giving you direct access to update your contact information, view past payments and more.  If you are registering for the first time - welcome!  Once you set up your Family Band Camp Account you will receive a confirmation email with your user name and a temporary password.  From there you can log in and change your password if you wish.

    If you have questions about the Band Camp Registration process you can reach us at sask.band@sasktel.net  

    Jazz Camp Faculty

    The Prairielands Jazz Camp offers a host of nationally-acclaimed clinicians, many of whom are originally from Saskatchewan and still have strong roots in the province.  Our 2018 Jazz Camp faculty includes:

    GORDON FOOTE - Toronto, ON - saxophone and big band

    Gordon Foote is a professor in the Jazz Studies Program of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. The most important part of this portfolio will be to direct the University of Toronto Jazz Orchestra (UTJO). Previous to that, Gordon spent 26 years as a Professor in the Jazz Studies Program at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec. He served as Dean (interim), Associate Dean (Academic and Student Affairs), Chair of the Department of Performance, Director of Graduate Studies and Chair of the Jazz Area, as well as 6 years at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Gordon is one of the pioneers of jazz education in Canada, being instrumental in the development and implementation of the first undergraduate and graduate university jazz studies programs in the country.

    Professor Foote was the coordinator of the McGill Jazz Orchestras, and directed McGill Jazz Orchestra I. Under his direction, the ensemble performed throughout the United States, France, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Mexico and Canada. The ensemble has released eight compact discs, with a ninth, the Kenton Project, in production. The ensemble also recorded a project of the music of Slide Hampton.

    “… the hands–down best college jazz ensemble I heard last year was Canada’s McGill University….no one could single them out as anything other than a professional working band.” Jack Bowers, All About Jazz.

    “Proof of the excellence of jazz education in Canada.” Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star.

    “If they come much better than this I simply won’t believe it…. McGill gets everything right.” John Killoch, Mainly Big Bands.

    As a saxophonist and clinician for Conn-Selmer, Gordon has performed in Canada, Europe and the United States. Gordon has served as the Quebec representative to the IAJE, the Director of Education for IAJE Canada and as President of Jazz Canada. His studies at the University of Minnesota and the University of North Texas combined with 37 years of performing and teaching experience, leave him as probably the most requested adjudicator, conductor, clinician and jazz educator/performer in Canada.

    DONNY KENNEDY - Montreal, QC - Saxophone

    Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, Donny Kennedy moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1995 to pursue a jazz performance degree at McGill University.  During his stay as an undergraduate student, he was the recipient of the David Holt award for academic standing in jazz.  He was also a member of the prestigious McGill Jazz Orchestra 1 with which he performed in Mexico, New York, Toronto, Quebec City and Banff.  He also recorded three albums with the group (Something Personal, Sang Froid, and Conundrum).  After graduating with high distinction in jazz saxophone, Donny continued his studies at McGill.  He was awarded the graduate level entry scholarship to pursue a Master of Music in Jazz Performance.  Donny received his Master’s degree in April of 2001.

    Donny leads and composes for his own Sextet.  The Donny Kennedy Sextet toured Mexico as part of Festival Internacional Cervantino.  This group was also nominated for the GM Grand Prix de Jazz at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2003.  In 2001, the group was chosen as one of five groups to perform in Toronto as part of a Canada Council initiative to promote emerging Canadian jazz artists.  The group has released one recording entitled Horizons.  The disc features original compositions by Kennedy.  Donny has also recently embarked on a new quartet project, co – led with pianist Jeff McLeod.  The Kennedy/McLeod Quartet has just completed and released their first recording entitled Belaney’s Secret.

    Donny teaches at McGill University, St. George’s School of Montreal, and has also recently begun teaching at Vanier College.  At McGill, he has taught Basic Jazz Arranging, Jazz Saxophone, Jazz Materials, Basic Materials of Jazz, Jazz Orchestra III, and Jazz Combo.  He is also the Jazz Combo Coordinator at McGill University.  Kennedy has also taught Saxophone at Bishop’s University.  He has also directed the Jazz Ensemble at Camp Musicale d’Asbestos (English session) and teaches at the annual Prairielands Jazz Camp in Regina, Saskatchewan.

    Donny remains active as a freelance musician and teacher in and around Montreal.  He has performed with Kevin Dean, Andre White, Kirk MacDonald, Joe Sullivan, Remi Bolduc, Janis Steprans, Kieran Overs, Christine Jensen, The Montreal Jazz Big Band and many other local musicians.  He is also a member of the Min Rager Quintet.  This group has recorded two CD’s entitled Bright Road and First Steps. Donny also plays lead alto saxophone in both the Joe Sullivan Big Band and the Juno award winning Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra.

    JON McCASLIN - Calgary, AB - Drums

    Recognized as one of Western Canada’s leading jazz drummers and educators, Jon McCaslin brings excitement and his passion for the jazz tradition and its future to the bandstand and to the classroom.

    Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan Jon began playing the drums at the age of nine while progressing through the Regina Lions Junior Band and award winning music program at his high school, Campbell Collegiate, soon developing a passion for playing the drums and jazz.

    Ultimately, Jon's interest in music led him to enroll in the Jazz Studies program at McGill University, graduating with distinction in 1999. While at McGill, Jon had the opportunity to study with some of the finest jazz educators in the country including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Jan Jarcyzk, Joe Sullivan, Remi Bolduc, Chris McCann, Andre White, Michel Lambert and Dave Laing.

    He attended the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1997, where he performed with Canadian jazz greats Hugh Fraser, Don Thompson and Kenny Wheeler. In the spring of 2002 McCaslin completed his Master's in Jazz Studies at McGill University where he studied jazz drumming, improvisation and composition.

    In 2012 he released his album “Sunalta” on the Cellar Live jazz record label featuring Brad Turner, Phil Dwyer, Tilden Webb and Jodi Proznick. This music was nominated in 2013 for the Western Canadian Music Awards in the “Best Jazz Recording” category. As a busy sideman he has also performed with such internationally recognized artists as Mulgrew Miller, Peter Bernstein, Ralph Bowen, Hendrik Meurkens, Sean Jones, PJ Perry, Charlie Biddle, Hadley Caliman, Kelly Jefferson, Ian McDougall,  Jeff Johnston, Lorraine Desmerais, Steve Amirault, Hugh Fraser, Chucho Valdes, Uri Caine, Peter Apfelbaum, Wycliffe Gordon, Linda Oh and Pat LaBarbera. McCaslin is a Doctoral Candidate through the University of Toronto and is completing his dissertation on the conceptualization of contemporary melodic jazz drumming.

    Since 2009 he has authored “Four on the Floor” www.jonmccaslinjazzdrummer.blogspot.com, one of the world’s most recognized on-line jazz drumming blogs. He is currently based in Calgary where he maintains a busy performing and teaching schedule across Canada.

    JEFF McLEOD - Toronto, ON - Piano

    Jeff McLeod is a pianist and organist originally from Regina, Saskatchewan, fresh on the Toronto music scene after living for 6 years in Rochester, New York. Since settling in Toronto, he has played with many of the city’s great musicians including Andrew Scott, Alex Dean, Ted Quinlan, Chris Gale, Ryan Oliver, Morgan Childs, Nathan Hiltz, Joel Haynes.

    Jeff spent more than a decade as an integral part of the Western Canadian music scene, performing with the soul/R&B bands Stepchyle and House of Payne (both featuring vocalist/ guitarist George Taylor), roots musician Joel Fafard, guitar wizard Jack Sample and many other great musicians including Kris Craig, Dan Silljer, Ed Lewis, Carlo Petrovitch, Mike Thompson, Dean McNeill, Mark DeJong, Trent Reschny, and Peter Dyksman. Jeff also spent time playing in the backing band for well-known Canadian vocalist, Serena Ryder, including appearances at major music festivals Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. Jeff has been the keyboardist for the “The Willing”, the backing band for the great prairie singer/songwriter, and Soccermom recording
    artist Jason Plumb, former front man of the Juno Award winning band, The Waltons. His latest record All Is More Than Both, is the fourth release on which Jeff contributes keyboards. Jeff can also be heard on the Jason’s ode to the beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club - "Paint the Whole World Green" that plays at all their home games. Some recent highlights with the band include taking part in the Ships & Dip IV festival in 2011, put on by longtime friends of Plumb, the Barenaked Ladies; and a performance collaboration with the Regina Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Victor Sawa as part of their Pops series.

    In 2007, Jeff relocated stateside to Rochester, New York, to do graduate work at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, studying primarily with Harold Danko, well known for long-time associations with jazz artists Lee Konitz, Chet Baker, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Gerry Mulligan, and others. During his time at Eastman, Jeff instructed several university courses, and performed as a member of the Eastman Jazz Ensemble led by brilliant composer/arranger/ pianist Bill Dobbins. It was in Rochester, that Jeff began to play Hammond Organ seriously, becoming a regular on the Western New York and Ontario scene as an organist.

    Despite being busy with grad school in Rochester, New York, Jeff has spent a great deal of time performing at clubs in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Regina, Rochester and Buffalo and performances at the Rochester and Saskatchewan International Jazz Festivals. Jeff has released two recordings as a leader - Double Entendre in 2012, and Belaney’s Secrey in 2013. Double Entendre, which Jeff on both piano and organ, with long time collaborators Ben Bishop (guitar) and Joel Kerr (bass) along with guest soloist Mike Murley, the great Canadian tenor saxophonist. Belaney’s Secret is co-led by alto saxophonist Donny Kennedy of Montreal, and features original music by with McLeod and Kennedy.

    As a teacher, Jeff has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Regina (2002) and spent five years (2003-2008) working as a public school band and choral teacher, both full time and as a substitute teacher in Saskatchewan. While in Rochester, he taught private jazz and classical piano lessons at the Eastman Community School. For the past seven years, he has been on faculty as piano instructor at the Prairielands Jazz Camp in Regina Saskatchewan.

    DEREK FRIESEN - Australia - Trumpet

    Derek Friesen is a Saskatchewan-born professional trumpet player and composer.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Schulich School of Music at McGill University (2010) and a Master of Music degree (Academic Honors) from the New England Conservatory of Music (2012).  Through his studies in Montreal and Boston Derek has performed and studied with some of North America’s top jazz educators and performers including Gordon Foote, Kevin Dean, Joe Sullivan, Ron Di Lauro, Slide Hampton, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Ken Schaphorst, Cecil McBee, George Cables, Victor Lewis, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Billy Hart, and Dave Holland.  Some of Derek’s career highlights include five performances with three different groups at the 2007 and 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival.  He has also worked as an opening act for Charles Bradley and Talib Kweli.  Derek currently resides in Cairns, Australia and performs regularly around the city while studying dentistry at James Cook University. This summer he is looking forward to releasing an album of original compositions.  Derek is pleased and honoured to be a faculty member at the 2018 Prarielands Jazz Camp as he attended the camp as a teenager!

    SOREN NISSEN - Toronto, ON - Bass

    Søren Nissen is a professional bassist and educator living in Toronto, Canada. He is a creative yet grounded bassist with a strong rhythmic propulsion, technical expertise and musical sensitivity that is recognizable across many musical genres and settings. Søren is an in demand performer and educator in Canada and abroad and is dedicated to  embracing and sharing the lifelong learning process that music holds.  Søren's  musical roots formed in his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where classical piano and acoustic bass lessons introduced him to the fundamentals of music. He left formal piano study after at the age of 14 to pursue the acoustic and electric bass with more focused study.  By the age of 17, Søren was principal bassist of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra and had begun actively exploring other genres of music with a particular interest in jazz.  

    His passion for jazz grew while attending shows at the local jazz club, The Bassment and by connecting with mentors who generously shared the music with him.  Two of these mentors were Mark DeJong and Dean McNeil who ran local jazz workshops,  lectured at the university, and direceted ensembles which Søren participated in. They hired Søren for a weekly jazz gig allowing him to gain valuable playing experience in a challenging environment. This is where he began developing his ears, musicianship and true love for jazz and improvisation.  After a brief stint of general studies at the University of Saskatchewan, Søren began studying music at Humber College in 2008.   While at Humber, Søren was a three year member of the prestigious Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble and studied with incredible teachers such as Neil Swainson, Mike Downes, Pat LaBarbera, and Kirk MacDonald.  He also performed with visiting faculty including Terence Blanchard, Danilo Perez, Guido Basso, Bob Mintzer, and Dave Holland. Soren was a special guest performer and workshop participant at the Atina Jazz Festival in Italy in 2012 and attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music in 2013 where he studied with Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, Esperanza Spalding, Stephan Crump, Ravi Coltrane and many other world renown artists.  He has been a featured guest on Jazz.FM's Jazzology and  has received the Yamaha Canada Jazz Scholarship, the Toronto Musicians’ Association Moe Koffman Memorial Award, the Edward L. Frankel Award, the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award and The President's Award during his time at Humber College.  He has performed with Vincent Herring, Pat LaBarbera, P.J. Perry, Oliver Jones, Adam O'Farrill, Kavita Shah, Cambell Ryga, Wycliffe Gordon, Kirk MacDonald, Steven Bernstein, Jerome Jennings, David Occhipinti and many other internationally renown artists.  Søren's performing and teaching has taken him throughout Canada, South America, Europe, India and the United States including an appearance at the Blue Note in New York City.    

    Søren is passionate about sharing his love for music with others and runs a private teaching studio in Toronto where he teaches lessons to all levels of  acoustic and electric bassists who want to develop their skills and love for music. He is also a private bass instructor and ensemble director with the Humber Community Music Program in Toronto. He has been an international faculty member at Global Music Institute (GMI) in New Delhi, India teaching the official Berklee College of Music curriculum.  He taught music theory, private lessons, bass masterclass, ensemble classes, and basic piano skills while at GMI.  Søren is a returning faculty member at the TD Canada Trust Jazz Intensive each year during the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and is a guest clinician at many schools and other musical organizations throughout the year. 

    PAUL TARUSSOV - Toronto, ON - Trombone

    Paul Tarussov, trombonist, educator, and composer/arranger, is among a new wave of musicians seeking to bring together an exploration of original music with a sound steeped in tradition. He is highly in demand for his versatility as a freelancer in the Toronto area, playing in a variety of musical genres - theatre, world music, rock, funk, and classical. Paul is also a committed educator, leading workshops for all brass instruments, improvisation, theory, and helping musicians and ensembles of all ages and skill levels sound their best.

    As a jazz musician, Paul has had the honour of performing and/or recording with jazz artists such as Benny Golson, Barry Harris, Danilo Perez, Michael Feinstein, Ron Westray, Han Bennink, Valery Ponamarev, John MacLeod, Dave Young, and Christine Jensen. 

    As a freelancer in the Canadian pop scene, he has performed with stars like Carlie Rae Jepsen, Johnny Reid, and Sean Jones. He toured with “Stars”, a Juno-nominated Canadian indie darling pop/rock group in 2004-2005, as well as with the legendary Canadian super-band “Lighthouse” (since 2015). During 2013-2015, he was regularly engaged as the bass trombonist for "The Canadian Tenors"/"The Tenors".

    His recorded credits include horn work on singer-songwriter Jon Davis's album "Open Shores", and he is featured on Quique Escamilla’s "500 Years of Night", which received a Juno Award in 2015.

    Paul has also been busy on the world music stage, accompanying legendary singers in the salsa scene (Hernan Olivera, Maelo Ruiz, Willie Gonzalez, Roberto Linares Brown), the Ethiopian scene, and the Persian scene.

    During his time in New York City he studied with trombone greats Steve Turre, Wycliffe Gordon, Elliot Mason, and Vincent Gardner. Paul is a graduate of the Juilliard School and a specialist in embouchure research at the University of Toronto.


    Saskatchewan Band Association                306-551-2263 


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