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.

About the Ensemble



Founded by students under the guidance of Wendell Clanton, the Vocal Jazz Ensemble has grown in energy and artistry since its inception some seven years ago. Many fine singers have contributed to its success, and it wouldn't have prospered without the significant contributions of the student managers from year to year: Jen B., Nina H., Laura C., Cassie L., Chelsea K. and Olivia S.

Furthermore, the Ensemble gratefully acknowledges the support shown by Pete Taylor (Powell River/Westcoast Jazz & Blues Society) and Vijay Singh (CWU) who very generously provided charts and encouragement at the group's inception.

The Ensemble hosts two concerts each year, the Autumn Showcase in November and the Spring Showcase in March, and has performed for high schools, at local clubs and has given workshops for visiting ensembles.

Students are involved in the selection of charts, managing the audition process and the direction of combos. Concerts always feature a few individual solo numbers with the UVJAZ Rhythm Section.

The Ensemble rehearses on Mondays (Jazz Chorale) and Wednesdays (UVJAZ 16 voice group) and more frequently prior to concerts. Combos (octets, sextets and quartets) rehearse on a weekly basis under the guidance of student directors.

The Ensemble is part of a vibrant and growing program comprised of accomplished faculty, including Wendell Clanton (Vocal Jazz), Anita Bonkowski (Jazz theory, arranging/orchestration) and Dr. Patrick Boyle (Jazz Orchestra, theory/improvisation).

The Ensemble regularly performs charts by Weir, Mattson, Meader, Matsuoka, Barduhn, Shaw, Chinn, Singh, Taylor, Bram, Marsh, Jasperse and Enderoth, to name but a few, as well as arrangements by Wendell Clanton and UVic students: e.g., Laura Champagne's stellar version of the Jackson5 chart I Want You Back.




WHAT'S INVOLVED?

The Vocal Jazz Ensemble is a two semester commitment, September to April, and may be taken for credit: MUS 180-580 [Course Unit Value: 2.0 large ensemble].

Auditions are held in the first week of September. Auditions are competitive for the 16 voice group (UVJAZ). Auditions are non-competitive for placement in the Jazz Chorale. Singers who want to be considered for the 16 voice group may check the appropriate box(es) on the Singer Information Sheet distributed during the Meet and Greet or which may be downloaded online: CLICK HERE for the SINGER INFORMATION SHEET page.

Auditions are open to all UVic and Camosun students. Singers not affiliated with UVic or Camosun may consult with the Director, Wendell Clanton, to determine eligibility.

Audition format: singers typically sign up in groups of four (SATB). Sign up sheets are posted after the Wednesday Meet and Greet. Auditions are approximately 15 minutes in duration. In addition to the two prepared pieces, singers will be presented with an option to perform an improvised (scat) solo based on a common chord progression: 12 bar blues or Rhythm Changes.
In the event a group requires an additional voice, the Audition Panel, consisting of four senior Ensemble members and the Director, will provide the missing voice(s).
UVJAZ Competitive Audition: the successful candidate is a confident singer who demonstrates:

Musical Excellence 
  • flexible or complementary tone colour.
  • a confident sense of rhythm.
  • strong score reading skills.
  • strong aural skills: precise pitch and intonation.
  • prior experience: knowledge of style and inflection.
Positive Attitude 
  • strong sense of commitment.
  • a passion for individual practice and personal excellence.
  • a passion for performing and honouring the music and the audience.
  • receptivity to guidance.
  • exceeds expectations.
  • leadership skills.
Team Spirit 
  • an ability to “play well” with others. 
  • a passion for collaborative rehearsal to achieve or exceed weekly goals.
  • supports others and celebrates the accomplishments of others.
  • possesses a vibrant personality, sense of humour and a willingness to explore musical ideas with others.
The UVic Jazz Chorale Placement Audition

Musical Excellence
  • good sense of rhythm.
  • good aural skills: accurate pitch and intonation.
  • prior experience: while knowledge of style and inflection is an asset, singers with little or no experience are welcome to join and learn the nuances of vocal jazz technique and style.
Positive Attitude 
  • strong sense of commitment.
  • a passion for individual practice and personal excellence.
  • a passion for performing and honouring the music and the audience.
  • receptivity to guidance.
  • exceeds expectations.
  • leadership skills: those with experience or who demonstrate confidence may be invited to be section leaders.
Team Spirit 
  • an ability to “play well” with others. 
  • a passion for collaborative rehearsal to achieve or exceed weekly goals.
  • supports others and celebrates the accomplishments of others.
  • possesses a vibrant personality, sense of humour and a willingness to explore musical ideas with others

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