Jazz Outreach Initiative's "JOI Jazz Orchestra" spreads the "JOI" of the Holidays @ Sold Out Concert
Seasons Greetings from Jazz Outreach Initiative! Tuesday, December 21, 2021 was one year to the day that JOI launched the “JOI Jazz Orchestra” via a YouTube video of Sherman Irby’s arrangement of “Merry Christmas Baby” performed by Clint Holmes. One year later, the JOI Jazz Orchestra performed its first ticketed concert to a sold-out audience at the Starbright Theater in Sun City Summerlin! Prior to doors opening to the theater, JOI brought in the Las Vegas Academy carolers to perform in the lobby for guests, getting everyone in the holiday cheer.
The show featured a performance of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn’s “The Nutcracker Suite” and several holiday favorites. GRAMMY® nominated recording artist and headliner, Clint Holmes (JOI Board Member) performed with the band. JOI President & Founder, Kenny Rampton, flew in from his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performances to perform and introduce the musician soloists. And long time news favorite Nathan Tannenbaum kept the audience engaged between songs with informative and entertaining narration about the music.
Included were commissioned arrangements by local composers and arrangers who are also members of the big band. These included “My favorite Things” arranged by Nathan Tanouye and “Little Drummer Boy” arranged by Christian Tamburr and orchestrated by Jorge Machain for the JOI Jazz Orchestra. JOI Artistic Dir., Kenny Rampton who commissioned the works said, “Our intention at Jazz Outreach Initiative is to feature and spotlight local musicians, composers, and arrangers to showcase for our public how vibrant and talented the local jazz community is here in Southern Nevada.” Long time trumpeter, producer, and music industry executive Dale Thompson (former member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra) donated several original charts from the platinum albums he produced, “In the Christmas Mood” and the band performed one of those pieces as well.
Midway through the program, JOI Executive Director Donny Thompson introduced the audience to JOI’s exciting new program, “Jazz Routes,” which provides donated instruments to local youth along with a year of free private lessons paid for by donor-sponsors. JOI’s second Jazz Routes recipient is Liliana Hoopes of the Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS), the district’s only all-girl Title 1 charter school. Liliana is JOI's second Jazz Routes Recipient, the first being Kobe Johnson who received a trumpet and lessons from Jorge Machain during a Jonathan Karrant concert in October this year.
Joining Liliana on stage for the presentation were Jazz Routes sponsors Fred and Gee Katen and Bill Parker who through his leadership at Music & Arts music stores repair division provides donated repair services to prep instruments for our recipients. Liliana’s family also joined her on stage because music is not only a gift to the child, but to the entire family…and later the community. JOI Jazz Orchestra saxophonist Eddie Rich was introduced to Liliana and handed over the new saxophone he’ll be teaching her to play. Eddie is a fantastic musician, educator, and a mentor for JOI’s Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Following the concert, the brand-new JOI Jazz Alliance volunteer group hosted a VIP after-party wine and hors-d’oeuvres reception with the banquet room being secured by member Joanne Gilbert and food and wines sponsored by volunteer leaders Robert & Shirley Kramer and their Friends of UNLV Jazz.
The JOI Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Outreach Initiative welcomed hundreds of new fans and followers and looks to schedule regular performances for both ticketed and free outreach audiences throughout Southern Nevada in the coming year and anticipates making the performance of “The Nutcracker Suite” an annual compliment to other traditional offerings.