The UVic Vocal Jazz 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 Vocal Summit (2012) and the Frank Demiero Jazz Fest (2016), the Ensemble is well known for its fun-filled, audience engaging concerts. The Autumn and Spring Vocal Jazz Showcase concerts feature the signature studio groups UVJAZZ RED and UVJAZZ BLUE, the UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA JAZZ CHORALE, and various spotlight combos. UVJAZZ RED has opened for the internationally acclaimed vocal group Groove for Thought, Canadian sensation Countermeasure, and has received high praise from vocal jazz legends Kirby Shaw and Dave Barduhn and master educators Vijay Singh, Peter Taylor and Janet Warren.

Monday, 21 January 2013

2013 UVSMEA Retreat

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On January 13th at Camp Pringle at Shawnigan Lake, members of the UVic Student Music Educators Association participated in an exploration of composition processes intended to supplement their studies in music education.

The workshop, entitled I Re-write The Songs That Make The Whole World Cringe, consisted of a series of practical exercises that examined and synthesized complementary and contrasting approaches to teaching music composition to high school students.

UVic students were first directed to write down their responses to various questions asked by the workshop leader, Wendell Clanton, director of the UVic Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Each participant was then directed to exchange their theme cards with an adjacent student. Another series of questions were asked and responses were again recorded by each participant. The theme cards were then exchanged again.

Students were then given a guide in the form of a leadsheet of a jazz standard, asked to sing the lyrics together in the large group, and then invited to form small groups in which they re-wrote the lyrics according to set guidelines intended to facilitate or complicate the revision process. Each participant was given a leadsheet without lyrics so they could record their new lyrics and make revisions.

Each team or small group was given a limited time to reconstruct the lyrics using the theme cards possessed by each participant in a team. Students were encouraged to name their composition teams, use appropriate humour in their new lyrics and employ whatever instruments in their possession to enhance the performance of the new lyrics.

Upon the completion of the first stage of the team workshops, teams were then brought together in the large group to receive additional direction. A brief presentation included an examination of the compositional process and potential advantages and roadblocks to success. Various aspects of the BC Provincial curriculum were brought to the students' attention by nuancing the compositional processes in which they were engaged.

The teams were then invited to return to small group work for a brief period in order to refine and rehearse their presentations. Prior to the performance of the new lyrics by each team, a member was selected from each group to form a committee charged with evaluating each performance and selecting a winning submission. The adjudicators were tasked with providing specific feedback intended to facilitate self evaluation and an evaluation of the workshop.

The presentations were a mixture of hilarious and intricate associations, awkward juxtapositions of themes and exceptional wit and wordplay, all in service of acquainting the students with the Provincial (BC) curriculum prescribed learning outcomes (PLOs).

All in all, the workshop was very successful and managed to engage every participant in a refinement of literacy in aid of teaching and learning.

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