Bayden Adams announced as WAYJO’s 2024 Assistant Musical Director

WAYJO is delighted to announce Bayden Adams as the Assistant Musical Director for 2024. The annual role, sponsored by the Simon Lee Foundation, provides a unique mentoring traineeship opportunity for a young and promising musical director.

Bayden Adams, currently pursuing a double degree in Music and Business at the University of Western Australia, brings a wealth of experience and passion to the position. With a background as a composer, conductor, and trumpeter, Bayden is looking forward to introducing his unique style to WAYJO.

In this year’s program, Bayden will focus on refining his skills in conducting a large orchestral band, programming repertoire for an 18-piece big band, and developing the leadership skills essential for inspiring the talents of the band members.

Having begun his conducting career nine years ago with his school’s Concert Bands and Big Bands, Bayden has quickly gained impressive experience. In 2021, he took on the role of Assistant Musical Director for the Bunbury City Band (Brass Band) and is currently a member of WA’s premier brass band, WA Brass, as well as the Musical Director of their Junior Band, ‘WA Brass Juniors.’

Bayden has participated in various conducting masterclasses by esteemed figures such as Ingrid Martin (New Zealand Assistant Conductor in residence), Dale Pointon (IMSS DOE Coordinator of Ensembles and Instrumental Pedagogy Lecturer – UWA), Jessica Gethin (West Australian Ballet Principal Conductor), Alan Lourens (UWA Head of Conservatorium of Music), as well as Matt Klohs, Bob Childs, and the University of British Columbia’s Director of Bands, Rob Taylor. As well as being a conductor, Bayden is a published composer.

WAYJO is thrilled to welcome Bayden Adams to the role of Assistant Musical Director for 2024 and looks forward to the wealth of experience he brings to the stage.

Welcome to our 2024 orchestra members

WAYJO’s Pathways Education Program was developed to engage with young and emerging jazz artists.
An integral part of the annual program, WAYJO is proud to facilitate the Northern Corridor Training Band for high school-aged students (which is currently accepting enrolments), and the Progressions Program for individuals on the outskirts of jazz.
The programs are designed to enhance and develop the skills of aspiring musicians through artistic mentorship, guided workshops and rehearsals, and quality performance experiences in a big band setting. In addition, participants connect with peers as well as professionals in the music industry, bringing concepts from the classroom to life.
WAYJO is thrilled to announce, therefore, that six of the newest band members in the three main orchestras have come through the Pathways Programs.

They are:
Aavi Barker | MNO | Trumpet
Dexter Bell | MNO | Alto Saxophone
Jaeden Carlyon | TNO | Baritone Saxophone

Isabelle Cranley Dixon | MNO | Tenor Saxophone
Ella Dias | TNO | Bass

Ryley Ford | MNO | Trombone

WAYJO’s 2024 Orchestra Members

WAYJO is delighted to have so many returning members in the three big bands: WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra (MNO), led by Ricki Malet; St John of God Healthcare Tuesday Night Orchestra (TNO) with Musical Director Marty Pervan; and, directed by Mace Francis, the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO).
A huge welcome, as well, to the thirteen newest band members, for whom this will be their first year with WAYJO.

See the full list of orchestra members and their instruments.

Cultural exchange with Showa University of Music, Japan

Directed by Masa Ikeda and Mace Francis, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra and Showa University of Music in Japan are together celebrating culture and their shared love of music in Perth next month – continuing a 10-year relationship, which started in 2014.

This 9-day cultural exchange from 1 November 2023 features 10 members from the Wednesday Night Orchestra (WNO) and six musicians from Showa, as well as the hosting of an Associate Professor and Assistant from the university, which is located in Shin-Yurigaoka just outside of central Tokyo.

WNO members taking part includes Aaron Caldwell (Alto Sax), Oliver Taylor (Tenor Sax), Ethan Nankivell (Tenor Sax), Naoko Uemoto (Baritone sax), Dusan Cuculoski (Trumpet), Ethan Lamb (Trumpet), Matthew Knight (Trumpet), Lindsay Bush (Trombone), Jules Arnold (Trombone) and Fred Hostman (Bass Trombone).

The Showa University of Music, the Showa Graduate School of Music and the Showa College of Music are part of the Tosei Gakuen Educational Foundation, which is renowned for its forward-thinking in music education in the areas of traditional western classical music, musical theatre, ballet, and jazz and popular music.

Thanks to the support of the North West Shelf Gas this cultural exchange includes an all-expenses trip for the travelling musicians, rehearsals, a recording session at Loop Studio, cultural activities and sightseeing as well as private and public performances.

The two groups will also be coming together to form a cross-cultural big band ‘SHOWAYJO’ at the Perth International Jazz Festival’s Jazz Picnic in the Park on Sunday 5 November at 2:15pm.

Playing classic big band repertoire as well as premiering a new work collectively composed by orchestra members, this free concert in Hyde Park also includes a performance by our Northern Corridor Band at 1pm, a jazz parade, WAAPA Mingus Ensemble & Jazz Vocal Ensemble and The Vampires (NSW).

This exchange has been made possible through our Principal Partner, North West Shelf Gas.

Jazz Picnic in the Park
From 12pm, Sunday 5 November
Hyde Park, Perth

For more info

Photos courtesy of Consulate-General of Japan in Perth

WAYJO NC plays The Ellington

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra Northern Corridor (NC) Band assists in the development of young musicians who have an interest in playing big band jazz. This ensemble also focuses on the growth of its members through developing deeper musical understanding, leadership, and camaraderie.

Currently, the band is comprised of students from 12 different schools across Perth and Peel region, with students travelling from Mandurah to Duncraig to take part in the weekly rehearsals.

The band is directed by Jess Herbert who’s been involved with WAYJO for 14 years! She originally started out as a member of the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra (TNO) or Big Band Orchestra as it was previously called, and played baritone sax in the band from 2009-2011. She then started working with WAYJO in their administration team from 2014 to 2021 and now holds her dream position as a Musical Director!

Jess says being a part of WAYJO is so much more than you might think. “It’s about community, opportunity and above all, a love of big band jazz. I count myself very lucky to have been involved with this organisation for so many years,” she says.

Ahead of their show coming up at The Ellington Jazz Club this weekend, Jess fills us in all things NC.

How long have you been music director of NC?
Jess Herbert: I have been the MD since August of 2022.

Tell us how the NC band has developed this year
JH: The band have improved exponentially over the course of the last year and a half. The level of repertoire they are performing, their musicianship both as individuals and as an ensemble and their dedication to the ensemble has just been so inspiring to watch. It’s really important in big band jazz to develop leadership within the ensemble as well as musical camaraderie. Allowing my students to have artistic license, encouraging their enthusiasm and facilitating musical discussion has allowed the group to really grow, and lean into their understanding of what it means to play big band jazz. It’s so much more than just turning up each week and reading the dots on the page. We’re seeing the students grow not just as musicians, but as leaders and it’s incredible to witness.

What’s the repertoire for this Sunday’s concert?
JH: We have a very diverse set of music for our audience this Sunday! We’re playing classic tunes from Basie and Ellington through to some original compositions by Perth based saxophonist and composer, Gemma Farrell. It’s going to be a power hour of big band music through the decades.

How will this concert differ from their previous ones this year?
JH: This is our first featured concert in a music venue. So far this year we have played at Joondalup Festival, the WA Schools Jazz Festival and with Dave Theak at St Stephens last month alongside the St Stephens Big Band and the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, but we have never played our own standalone gig before! This is a landmark performance for the band.

Is the band excited to be playing at Perth’s most iconic jazz club?
JH: Absolutely! The Ellington Jazz Club, with its illustrious 15-year history, is renowned for hosting some of the finest jazz performances from across the globe. For these budding artists, the opportunity to showcase their skills at this iconic venue represents a milestone in their burgeoning careers. I’m not sure how we’re going to fit them all on the stage yet, but you’ll just have to come to the concert to see if we can pull it off!

What’s on the cards for NC next year?
I’m so passionate about this ensemble and fostering the next generation of jazz musicians. We start 2024 planning next month and I do have some exciting things planned but you’ll just have to watch this space for now…

WAYJO NC plays The Ellington
3pm, Sunday 29 October – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth
Click here for tickets


Photos by David P Cox


Q&A with MNO musical director Ricki Malet

Musical Director of the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, Ricki Malet, reveals what’s in store for this week’s concerts with Sydney saxophonist David Theak. 

Why are you excited to work with David Theak?
Ricki Malet: Dave is an amazing composer, arranger, musician and educator. He has run his own big band, The Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra, as well as the Sydney Con Big Band and is now involved with the Australian National Youth Jazz Orchestra. It is going to be fantastic for the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra to be able to spend a week learning from him.

For many of the MinterEllison Monday Night band members, this will be their first regional tour, what do you enjoy most about the touring program and taking the big band to play in front of new audiences?
RM: I enjoy watching the growth of the band over the tour! As the younger of the bands they really develop confidence in their abilities from working with schools to performing in front of new audiences.

We’re already into September and the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra has now performed together quite a few times, how have you seen them develop as a big band?
RM: As always, it’s the most rewarding part of being an MD with WAYJO. I get a front row seat to them building their confidence and learning to gel musically together. There were a lot of first time WAYJO members and they have grown a lot, but people will have to come see for themselves.

What’s your favourite piece of music to direct?
RM: At the moment I’m really enjoying doing Andrew Murray’s arrangement of ‘The Shadow of Your Smile’, it’s a fantastic version that we did some years ago when Andrew wielded with the band and I love bringing it out from time to time.

Is there anything you can tell audiences about what they can expect from this week’s performance program?
RM: Amazingly talented, young musicians! You must come and see them with your own eyes and ears!!

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Thursday 14 September -Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Saturday 16 September – Downstairs at The Maj
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School
7:30pm, Friday 15 September
St Stephen’s School Theatre, Duncraig
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Any More: David Theak meets WAYJO

Performing the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and more, our MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra will be joined on stage by the extraordinary David Theak – a highly accomplished saxophonist and leading Australian jazz educator from Sydney.

Head of Jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium, co-artistic director of the Australian National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and artistic director of the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Festival, David Theak is a passionate advocate for big bands and has toured the world with his quartet, Theak-tet. He was recently shortlisted for UMO (Helsinki Jazz Orchestra) and WDR (West German Radio) Big Bands as a saxophonist. He has an upcoming Naxos Jazz project with German composer Florian Ross and strings in 2024.

As he pays tribute to the great tenor saxophonists of the swing era, and maybe even sings a song or two – these will be two very special evenings of vintage rhythms, sophisticated sounds, and timeless classics on 14 and 15 September.

On Friday 16 September David performs Swingin’ at St Stephen’s at St Stephen’s School Duncraig. This night of jazz classics features WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, joined on stage by David Theak on saxophone with support from WAYJO’s Northern Corridor Band and the St Stephen’s Swing Band.

David said, “I can’t wait to swing with WAYJO in September….Australia’s most prominent youth big band, directed by a bunch of jazz legends…anytime I play with WAYJO, it’s a joyous occasion.”

WAYJO Artistic Director & Musical Director, Mace Francis, said “The MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra has members that have ‘graduated’ from the WAYJO Northern Corridor Band, so it’s very fitting for this performance to take place where they rehearse each week. Rehearsals are held in the big band format and are focused on jazz phrasing, articulation, and artistic expression as well as improvisational techniques and playing a wide range of musical genres including jazz, funk, and Latin charts.

“Alongside regular rehearsals are masterclasses, performance opportunities, collaborations and mentoring from guest artists both from Australia and abroad, WAAPA staff and experienced WAYJO Alumni. We are thrilled to welcome David to feature in this exciting performance.”

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Thursday 14 September -Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm, Saturday 16 September – Downstairs at The Maj
MinterEllison MNO with David Theak
Click here for tickets

WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School
7:30pm, Friday 15 September
St Stephen’s School Theatre, Duncraig
Click here for tickets

Art Music Awards Finalist

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is proud to have been announced as a finalist in the prestigious Art Music Awards by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre. 

WAYJO is a finalist in the Art Music Awards
WAYJO is a finalist in the Art Music Awards.

The Art Music Awards celebrates individuals, groups and organisations in the Australian music community, recognising excellence among Australia’s finest creators and performers in contemporary classical, jazz, experimental music and sound art.

WAYJO was nominated for the Award for Excellence in Music Education for our 2022 Annual Pathways Programs.

Artistic Director Mace Francis, and winner of the WA Luminary Award in 2022, says of the nomination:

“We are very excited to be a finalist in the APRA/AMCOS and Australian Music Centre Art Music Awards this year. It is so nice to be recognised nationally for the great work we are doing here in WA, inspiring and encouraging young musicians work towards a future in this industry. We are very proud of our work and very proud of our Pathways leaders, Gemma Farrell and Jessica Herbert who are working so closely with the next generation of WA music stars.”

Congratulations to all of the nominees, and especially to our fellow West Australians Lachlan Skipworth and Jamie Oehlers.

The 2023 Art Music Awards will take place at Carriageworks on Tuesday 15 August 2023. See the full list of finalists.

Global Recognition: WAYJO band member and alumni head overseas

WAYJO always enjoys hearing the success stories of our band members, guest artists, and alumni, and so we are thrilled to share news from two former and current band members. 

Our Wednesday Night Orchestra lead alto, Holly Forster, has been accepted to go on exchange to the prestigious Frost School of Music in Miami this year! She’ll be following in the path of many of our great alumni who have studied there including Troy Roberts, Tim Jago, Daniel Susnjar, Jeremy Greig, Matt Smith, and Catherine Noblet. Holly is currently in her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Music studying jazz saxophone at WAAPA and has been a dedicated member of WAYJO since 2018.

Former WAYJO member and current Progressions tutor, bassist Kate Pass, has been awarded a scholarship to complete a Master of Music at The New School’s College of Performing Arts in New York, as part of the Performer-Composer program.

We wish Holly and Kate every success as they go abroad for further jazz education.

2023 Composers-in-Residence

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is delighted to announce the selection of Composers-in-Residence for this year. As part of our commitment to supporting young jazz composers, we are offering these talented individuals the opportunity to develop new works, enhance their writing skills, and explore the art of conducting.

Under the guidance of WAYJO’s Artistic Director, Mace Francis, our Composer-in-Residence program has become a hallmark of excellence in the industry since its launch in 2008. We encourage the composers to consider innovative approaches to utilising the big band instrumentation of the WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestra and contribute to the vibrant jazz landscape in WA.

Read about the selected composers below, learn more about our Composer-in-Residence program, and stay tuned for updates on their exciting compositions and upcoming performances!

Oliver Taylor

Oliver a saxophonist, composer and music teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. He’s been playing the saxophone for nearly a decade, as well as picking up the clarinet and flute along the way. He has a deep passion for music and musical education.

Oliver completed an honours degree from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2021 and was awarded a $1200 prize for presenting the best honours recital in his graduating year.

Oliver is currently a member of WAYJO’s Wednesday night band and has a been a member since 2020. Oliver performs regularly around Perth, typically as a sideman playing jazz, swing, funk, blues, pop, and contemporary music.

Max Grynchuk

Max is a Ukrainian-born trumpeter, composer, and arranger based in Adelaide, Australia. He completed his Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours specialising in Jazz Performance at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide in 2018. During his time at university, Max was the recipient of several awards including the Howell Ross Award for Top Trumpet Undergraduate (2017), and the Keith & Susie Langley Memorial Award for Best Overall Honours Graduate (2019). He was also the recipient of the Mike Stewart Award (2019) presented by the Helpmann Academy and JazzSA, which was valued at $10,000 and required a grant proposal.

Max began writing for big band at age 14. At 16 he was commissioned to write for the JazzSA Superbands, contributing eight original works between 2012-2015. In 2018, Max was selected as the programs inaugural Composer-In-Residence, writing a further eight pieces that year alone. In 2019, Max returned to the program as a band director.

Max has recorded three albums as leader of his own big band. The band’s debut album ‘As For Now’ (2021) consisted of nine of Max’s originals compositions and featured special guest appearances from saxophonist Will Vinson and guitarist James Muller. The band’s second album, ‘Max Grynchuk Big Band Plays Eraser Description’ (2021), featured five of Max’s arrangements of the music of synth-funk trio Eraser Description. A follow up album, ‘Max Grynchuk Big Band Plays Eraser Description Vol. II’ was released in August 2022 featuring six new arrangements. Two of Max’s works were also featured on the Mike Stewart Big Band’s 2021 album ‘The Hang’.

Over 40 of Max’s big band compositions and arrangements are available for purchase through his website. He has sold works to high school and tertiary institutions around the world, including in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Luxembourg. Locally, Max’s pieces have been regularly performed by high school bands at festivals such as Generations in Jazz, and he has also written several big band division set pieces for the ABODA Band & Orchestra Festival.

Since 2016, Max has been the arranger for the annual Carols in the Park event hosted by the Tea Tree Gully council, the most recent of which attracted a crowd of 45,000. He has also been the primary arranger for the Royal Australian Navy Band SA since 2013, in which time he has contributed over 70 specialised arrangements for a variety of ensembles including big band, rock band and parade band.

Since 2015, Max has performed as a member of the Hilltop Hoods horn section. He has played at festivals such as Falls Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Groovin’ the Moo, as well as the Australian leg of their world tour, and as a support act for Eminem’s tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Max is currently the Bands Coordinator at St. Peter’s College SA.

Jessica Carlton

Jessica is a trumpet player and composer originally from Melbourne, Australia; now living in Perth.

Jessica graduated high school from the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Performance (Jazz Trumpet) from Monash University (2015) where she was awarded the Monash Jazz Prize (2014). Later in 2014, she released her first album ‘Not Alone’ and with this was nominated for the Bell Awards’ Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year. After living in New York for two years, Jessica moved back to Australia and moved to Perth for the first time in 2018. In 2021 she was nominated for the Music Trust’s Freedman Jazz Fellowship where she submitted a proposal about composing music about the feminist movement in China. Jessica recorded some of that music on a collaborative quartet album (with Kate Pass, Talya Valenti, and Alana Macpherson) entitled ‘Undeniable’ (released 2022). In 2022, Jessica was also nominated for WAM’s Best Brass Instrumentalist.

Jessica received the higher degree by research scholarship at WAAPA and is currently undertaking a research project about musical ekphrasis (transforming visual art and poetry into music composition and improvisation).

Jessica has been teaching trumpet for the past ten years and is very passionate about good quality, empathetic, and equitable education for young students. As an autistic woman of colour, Jessica is also deeply passionate about gender and racial equality, as well as disability inclusion and awareness, particularly in education and music performance.

Marty Pervan on Mambolicious

We sat down with Musical Director of the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, Marty Pervan, to find out a little more about the Mambolicious Program.

‘Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente’ features one of Australia’s greatest trumpet players, Mat Jodrell, and pays homage to influential Latin jazz pioneer, Tito Puente. Performing in Margaret River on 30 June at Margaret River HEART, and then in Perth at Milk Bar on 1 July, these concerts are guaranteed to have your feet tapping and hips shaking.

Marty Pervan with the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra by Josh Wells

Why are you excited to collaborate with Mat Jodrell and what are you hoping he’ll bring to the St John of God Tuesday Night Orchestra?

Given that Mat is a WAYJO alumnus, this collaboration is an opportunity to reconnect on both a personal and musical level. The wealth of knowledge and experience that comes with a musician that has lived and worked professionally as a first-call jazz and session trumpet player in places like New York is informative and inspirational for the band members. After leaving Perth, Mat attended the Julliard School of Music, and this also brings a unique set of experiences that bend members who are also tertiary music students will find enlightening. I am confident the anecdotal element of Mat’s communication and engagement with the band will be just as invaluable as his musical contribution.

What are you looking forward to on the regional tour to Margaret River?

There are no amount of rehearsals that can simulate the positive musical effect of a tour. The shared experiences and time spent together allow the musicians to connect in a way that is impossible to imitate. The shows, workshops and rehearsals will all be great musical experiences that will create lifelong memories for the band members (and probably the staff too).

What do you love about Tito Puente’s works?

Tito Puente was my first introduction to Son/montuno (Salsa), Mambo, Guaguanco and Cha Cha – it is something for which I have had a lifelong passion. I enjoy educating the band members about this genre of music and the various musical elements that make it unique. It is consistently exciting to play and listen to. This is always evident in the expressions of awe and joy on the faces of the band as they are performing.

Is there anything else you can tell us about the Mambolicious program?

We will be performing some of Tito Puente’s most popular tunes that most audiences have heard of as well as a selection of other music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and New York.

“I will be immensely surprised if any of the audience isn’t up and dancing early in the performance.”

Other artists that we will be performing the music of include Cubanismo, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, the Buena Vista Social Club, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Poncho Sanchez, Matt Harris, and Mike Tomaro.

Experience Mambolicious: Jodrell Screams Puente
7:30pm, Friday 30 June | Margaret River HEART | TICKETS
7:30pm, Saturday 1 July | Milk Bar, Inglewood | TICKETS