THE UVIC VOCAL JAZZ MAINSTREAM & IMPROVISATIONAL ENSEMBLE has established a reputation for artistic excellence, stylistic flexibility and performances of original and inspiring arrangements. In addition to highly successful performances at the Powell River Vocal Summit and the Frank Demiero Jazz Fest, UVJMIE was the choral ensemble for The Best of Queen concert series with JEANS 'N CLASSICS and the VICTORIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA under Maestro Giuseppe Pietraroia. The Ensemble is well known for its fun-filled, filled-to-capacity audience engaging concerts. Our Autumn and Spring Vocal Jazz Showcases feature the Signature Studio Ensembles - the University of Victoria Studio Group, the University of Victoria Show Choir - and various Spotlight Combos including Ellavation Chorale, and the UVic Vocal Jazz Stage Orchestra. The Ensemble has opened for the internationally acclaimed vocal groups GROOVE FOR THOUGHT and THE REAL GROUP, Canadian sensation COUNTERMEASURE, and has received high praise from legends Kirby Shaw and Dave Barduhn, and from master educators Vijay Singh, Peter Taylor and Janet Warren. Among our many distinguished alumni are the superb FIFTH STREET, MIKE EDEL and TWIN KENNEDY.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

October 2012 Sectionals

A few pics of the team making music.

True Colors, Come Sunday


Swoosh & Selig

Shining Some Light On Sunshine

Tayloring The Part

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding
Live in San Sebastian
July 23, 2009

Monday, 24 September 2012

Vocal Jazz Retreat 2012

This past weekend, a good portion of the troupe gathered in Merville near Comox, BC, for a working retreat. Voice parts were assigned, charts were polished and the group is taking on a unified sound.

Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me, True Colors, Sunshine and If I Loved You were the feature songs workshopped at the retreat.

Of course, all work and no play would not make for a very fun day. So, amidst the music making was... good food, good humour, good conversation, air hockey, pool and much more music making around a beachside bonfire Saturday night. Songs from previous years were soon taken up by the veterans gathered around the campfire.

Claire played guitar and sang for us an original song as well as several familiar songs drawn from the rep of her favourite artists.

Many thanks to the Nelsons for providing lodging. Thank you Wendy (Doug's mom) for providing excellent meals and great hospitality!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

2012 Audition Results

First, thank you to all those who came to the Meet & Greet!
Second, thanks to all who auditioned! Well done!

2012/2013 UVic Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Danielle Olmstead
Renn Bibeau
Andrea Paddock*
Olivia Selig
Monique De Plessis
Claire Butterfield
Marta Lefsrud*
Sarah Tradewell*
Josh Lovell
Stephen Fong
Doug Nelson
Nick Allen
Taylor Caswell
Matt Foster


A special note of thanks
to those who served on the
Audition Panel!

Organizational Meeting
Sept. 12th
6pm to 7pm
School of Music
Hand out and review scores.
Discuss Review & Lift Project.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

2012 • A New Season Dawns

Lahaina, Maui

Greetings. I hope everyone had a restorative and productive summer.

Hopefully, by now, interested singers have found all the information necessary to help orient themselves toward the Meet & Greet (Sept. 5th) and Auditions (Sept 10th). I received many inquiries over the summer. My apologies if I didn't respond quickly. It was summertime after all. 

Thank you to all who used the blog to investigate the Ensemble. Of course, a positive development is the addition of the Facebook page. Click here or at right to link to our Facebook page.

In addition to recruitment via social media and the School of Music website, posters are up in student residences and most other buildings on campus. And, this year we have a splashy notice running on the big screen at the Welcoming Centre.

! - We need two or three people to help greet passersby at the UVic fountain on Tuesday (4th) and Wednesday (5th) from noon to 1pm to hand out posters.

I'm looking forward to meeting singers new and returning, and I'm looking forward to an exciting term filled with good music and good times.

See you soon!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

UVic Ensemble Auditions 2012

Important Dates
  1. Wednesday, Sept. 5th • 6pm to 7pm • First Meet & Greet. Hand out Audition Material. Sign up for an audition time. 
  2. Monday, Sept. 10th • 5:30pm to 8:30pm • Auditions for Vocal Jazz Ensemble (B016). Audition results are usually posted within 24 hours: online and on the School of Music Vocal Jazz bulletin board.
  3. Wednesday, Sept. 12th • 6pm to 7pm • Music handout and Ensemble membership confirmation.
Audition Material
click to enlarge

These excerpts can also be found at:

Questions? Leave a message here at the blog.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Re... recording session.

Thank you! Thank you, one and all, for your enthusiasm and dedication this evening and this past year. 

I hope to have the raw audio and video from this evening's recording session processed in the next couple of weeks and begin assembling a promo package.

Charts have been ordered for next year. I hope to include a few more charts in the coming months.

Here's to a great summer!

P.S. - Some more pics from the P.R. excursion.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Recording Session this Friday!

Details have been sent out by email... but just in case:

Friday April 13
Room = B016
set-up and warm-up: 5pm
Session starts: 5:30pm

Alice In Wonderland
Our Love Is Here To Stay

Monday, 2 April 2012

Powell River and Vocal Summit

Ready to Sing • Saturday Night
 Wow!... fantastic... great work!...
You put UVic on the map!...
Cool!... you guys were awesome!
That was amazing - you took what Vijay said
in the clinic and immediately put it into action
on the concert!

Just a small sampling of the exuberant comments praising the performances of the Ensemble at the recent Vocal Summit in Power River.

After a highly successful daytime performance and clinic with Vijay Sing, the Ensemble was offered the privilege of performing on the Saturday evening headliner concert as a featured group. UVic opened for the sensational vocal group Groove For Thought, and received an exuberant standing ovation.

The host of the Summit, noted jazz educator Peter Taylor, offered gracious and enthusiastic praise and appreciation of the Ensemble's performances. Peter very graciously supplied the Ensemble with several charts at our group's inception, as did Vijay.

Celebrated educators and choral gurus Janet Warren and Scott Leithead offered their own high praise for the Ensemble's presentations.

A few more words about the exceptional clinic. The Ensemble members were treated to a forthright, incisive, inspiring clinic by Vijay. Focussing on fundamentals such as timbre and rhythmic precision for blend, as well as providing biographical  sketches of the composers and arrangers of the works we presented, Vijay led the Ensemble in a detailed exploration of the music. His comments were unanimously and throughly appreciated by all the singers. He acknowledged the excellence of the Ensemble while providing entirely constructive comments for our continued improvement.

Immediately after the daytime performance for the adjudicators, the Ensemble was offered an invitation to the prestigious MusicFest Canada.

Many, many middle school and high school singers expressed their ecstatic appreciation of our performances. Perhaps we'll see more than a few of them in the Ensemble in the coming years!

More to come as the photos arrive.

Rehearsal on the Ferry to Powell River
Celebrity Cruise
Left to Right: Stephen Fong (tenor)
and Matt Foster (bass)
Photo by Alicia Baas
Left to Right: Monique Du Plessis (swing),
Chelsea Kanstrup (alto) and Josh Lovell (tenor)
Photo by Alicia Baas

Monday, 26 March 2012

Vocal Summit 2012

Well, we're soon off to the Vocal Summit in Powell River!

Set List

Alice in Wonderland featuring Nick Allen

April In Paris featuring Matt Foster & Josh Lovell

Am I Blue featuring Stephen Fong, Olivia Selig & Renn Bibeau

Our Love Is Here To Stay featuring Olivia Selig

I Could Write A Bookfeaturing Stephen Fong & Andy Slade (piano)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Around The Web: Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet

For your listening pleasure... click on the links to check out this able group of vocal jazz adepts.

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet
From the website:

"Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been delighting audiences worldwide with their tightly harmonized renditions of jazz, big band swing, pop, original songs and American Songbook classics. The stylishly entertaining quartet has captivated guests at festivals, concerts, parties and special events, with their lush harmonies, toe tapping rhythms, inventive lyrics, and versatile repertoire... all wrapped up in an irresistible stage show fueled by a hot jazz band accompaniment."

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

To All Valentiners - congratulations, and thank you!

An outstanding day of "sharing the love" in song and cheer!

Well done, Chelsea, for your indefatigable effort and gift of expertise!

The looks of embarrassment, stunned surprise and sincere appreciation by the recipients of the Valentines, their joyful tears and affectionate hugs, will linger on for everyone who participated in this fundraiser. I'm sure there are many stories to be shared with our colleagues and friends this coming Monday. 

As we briefly discussed on the road, perhaps those stories merit an opportunity to celebrate after Monday's rehearsal... ?

Well done, everyone, and thank you for a fun and thoroughly successful day!

I'll update the results once some photos start rolling in and the figures are tallied.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Monday January 23rd

6pm • Review: Primetime Blues
6:15: off-book The Look of Love (Krall version)
6:30: off-book He Ain't Heavy (The Hollies)
6:45: Tenor Madness (reminders: Sos/Allen; Olm/Lovell)
7:15: Break
7:30: rehearse: April In Paris (Basie version)
8pm: perform: Mashed Potatoes

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Monday January 16

6pm • Warm-up: Love Is Here To Stay
6:20: Review & Perform - He Ain't Heavy
6:45: Review & Perform - Look of Love (off book)
7pm: Tenor Madness
7:30: break
7:45: Score Reading - new chart TBA
8pm: Mashed Potatoes (women's chorus)
8:20 • end of rehearsal.