Swing Into Our 40th Celebrations

Swing Into Our 40th Celebrations

WAYJO is turning 40 and we’re taking over the State Theatre Centre of WA to celebrate!

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary celebrations are this weekend, 26 & 27 May, at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

We’re thrilled that Friday’s concert is now sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday’s mini festival, featuring in-conversations, small group jazz ensembles, historic photo displays, alumni appearances, and big band performances.

Want to read more about the program? Seesaw Magazine previewed the Festival program and spoke to Mace, Jamie Oehlers and Libby Hammer, who’ll also both perform on Saturday, as well as Ben Franz of The Waifs about his time with WAYJO.

Book tickets to the 40th Anniversary Festival on Saturday 27 May at 4pm from the State Theatre Centre.

Mace Francis on WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Festival

WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Festival Program

Contribute To The Future Of Jazz In WA

Since 1983, we’ve been providing young musicians with opportunities to develop their skills and share their love of jazz with audiences across Australia and around the world.

Over the years, we’re proud to have seen countless talented musicians come through our doors and go on to achieve great things in the world of jazz and beyond. None of this would have been possible without the support of generous donors and supporters.

Our giving circle is again invited to contribute to the next 40 years of WAYJO by participating in an upcoming auction of three generously donated items and experiences. The auction will be held at a private event earlier on the evening of the 40th Anniversary Concert at the State Theatre Centre on Friday, May 26th. We are currently accepting pre-bids on all of these items. Anyone interested can contact WAYJO for information or to make a bid, which will automatically give you invitation to join us at the event and concert (please see auction reserve prices below).


Small Falls by Brendon Darby – Oil on Acrylic on Canvas, 121 x 121cm (126×126 framed)

The first item up for auction is a stunning painting of Karijini Falls in the Pilbara by renowned West Australian artist Brendon Darby. Brendon Darby will be present at the event, making it an excellent opportunity for art enthusiasts to meet the artist. Starting pre-bid for the painting is $6,000.

All proceeds from the auction will go to support WAYJO, as they do for the other two generously donated experiences up for grabs. The second item is a unique opportunity to secure your WAYJO big band of choice for your home party, event, or business function. You will be able to curate the details of the date and the band on a day following the auction. Depending on the space at your venue, you may also opt for a smaller ensemble. Stage and PA equipment and audio engineer are included in the package. Starting bid for this experience is $2,000.

The third item is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to curate your own spring-time wine and food experience with the Best Sommelier in Italy, Maurizio Dante Filippi, who will be in Australia for just a few months. You can choose to do a degustation of wines from your cellar privately or at a springtime dinner party, have Filippi host a tasting at your business event, or have him consult at your winery on your range and current productions. Please note that wines are not included, but Filippi can help you select wines and recommend food pairings. For pre-bids or enquiries, please feel free to contact us to discuss. Starting bid for this experience is $1,200.

Contributing to the future of WAYJO means becoming part of a community that supports the development of jazz in WA, encourages musical education, and offers extraordinary professional and artistic experiences to emerging and early career musicians.

You can also support WAYJO by sharing this post with anyone you think might be interested – friends, colleagues, perhaps your school is looking for artwork to hang, or with someone from your community, church, or sporting group? A pre-bid on any of these experiences will also secure an invitation to the VIP soirée event and 40th Anniversary Concert.

To register your interest or to make a pre-bid, please contact WAYJO.

Alternatively, if you would like to make a contribution to WAYJO of any amount, and reduce your end-of-year tax burden at the same time, visit our secure Private Giving page, and you will immediately receive a tax-deductible receipt.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any inquiries, and thank you for your time, consideration, and support of WA’s leading youth jazz orchestra!

WAYJO's 40th Anniversary Concert & Festival

You’re invited to the jazz party of the year as WAYJO turns 40!

With thousands of events under its belt and a special place in many a WA musician’s hearts and memories, WAYJO is marking the occasion in style – bringing together Perth’s biggest jazz names alongside future stars of the Australian jazz scene for one special weekend at the State Theatre Centre’s Studio Underground and Foyer.

Join us as we celebrate WAYJO’s 40-year history and look towards the future of jazz!

40th Anniversary Concert

The celebrations begin with a Gala performance on Friday evening featuring WAYJO big bands alongside special guest alumni including Perth’s premier jazz vocalist, Libby Hammer, the versatile trombonist Catherine Noblet, the accomplished saxophonist Gemma Farrell, and the elegant vocalist Lucy Iffla.

On the big night, all three bands – MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, and Wednesday Night Orchestra – will take to the stage to perform commissioned works, band and fan favourites, and classic big band jazz repertoire.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Concert
7:30pm, Friday 26 May
Studio Underground


40th Anniversary Festival

Then on Saturday, take a trip down memory lane and immerse yourself in our mini festival hub of in-conversations, small group jazz ensembles, historic photo displays, alumni appearances, and big band performances.

Be transported through time as all three big bands celebrate the greats playing classic big band jazz, music from the depths of the WAYJO library, and a line-up that traces jazz through to contemporary, translating be-bop to hip-hop.

With guest artists Jamie Oehlers, Libby Hammer, and Zero Emcee, this is an event not to be missed.

WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Festival
4pm – 10pm, Saturday 27 May
Studio Underground


New Business and Development Manager

We’re delighted to announce that Emma Franz has joined the WAYJO team as our Business and Development Manager, as your go-to for all things partnership proposals and ongoing relations.

Emma Franz has a solid track record on both the practitioner and business sides of the arts, have started her career as a singer, pianist, and composer. She worked as a jazz singer and band leader in Australia and around the globe, before expanding her scope to non-fiction cinema in the roles of producer, director, writer, cinematographer, and editor on internationally acclaimed and award-winning feature projects, including the music films Intangible Asset Number 82 (Korea-Australia) and Bill Frisell, A Portrait (USA).

Her work in cinema as producer-director has been screened in some of the world’s most significant film festivals, had theatre runs in the USA and Korea, and been broadcast on Netflix, Amazon Prime, ABC Australia, NHK Japan, LinkTV USA, Sky Italy, YLE Finland, TV Catalunya, and others. Her invitation as a guest speaker includes the Lincoln Centre and Museum of the Moving Image NYC, the Smithsonian Museum Washington, and the National Film and Sound Archives Australia. Her roles have naturally encompassed contract supervision, project and operations management, financing, and partner development and relations.

Franz holds a master’s in interdisciplinary arts and has demonstrated a passionate commitment to communicating the intangible value of music and music creation. She brings that background – as well experience fronting the Moovin’ and Groovin’ Jazz Orchestra (pictured above) and B Sharp Big Band – to her work with WAYJO.

If you’d like to get in contact with Emma, you can send her an email, or phone the office on 08 9471 1950.

WAYJO celebrates 40 years as Australia’s leading youth jazz orchestra

WAYJO is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, having been at the forefront of forging professional jazz artists aged 14 to 25 since 1983.

To celebrate, we’re throwing a Season Launch Block Party to get the festivities started!

All are welcome to attend this free community event, from 3pm – 5pm on Sunday 5 March at Lyric Lane Laneway in Maylands. The Block Party features sets from the MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra, the St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, and the Wednesday Night Orchestra.

WAYJO's 40-Year Anniversary

WAYJO Artistic Director & Musical Director (and Band Leader of the Wednesday Night Orchestra), Mace Francis, reflected on the 40-year anniversary:

We are honoured to present an annual program that both celebrates WAYJO’s 40 years and gives our musicians the very best big band experiences.

In 2023 we will work with alumni, previous guest artists and future stars of the Australian jazz scene. Perth’s jazz lovers are invited to join us at WAYJO's first performance of the year showcasing all three bands and launching the 2023 40th birthday program.

Over its 40-year history thousands of young musicians have performed with us at over thousands of events. That is an incredible number of young people who have reaped the benefits of everything being in a big band has to offer; teamwork, communication, connection, purpose, inspiration, personal and professional development, passion, and pride. Benefits that are now, more than ever, so important to young people in our ever-disconnected world.

WAYJO holds a very special place in many WA musician’s hearts and memories. It is a place where they not only made great music in a great band but met their musician colleagues, future partners, and lifelong friends. WAYJO changed my life for the better after first joining it as a guitarist in 2001.

The opportunity to rehearse and play amazing jazz repertoire with like-minded musicians on a regular basis is an absolute blessing and WAYJO is so proud to have been able to do this for 40 years.

Each year the young musical talent in this state keeps getting better and better as WAYJO musicians go on to teach, their knowledge and skill development distilled and amplified.

We look forward to connecting young performers and composers with each other for another 40 years to create experiences, friendships and memories that live longer than anyone's time as a member of WAYJO.

-Mace Francis

Head along to our Season Launch on Sunday to be the first to hear the full 2023 program. Alternatively, sign up to our e-news to get it directly to your inbox!

WAYJO 2022 Quarry Farewell - Josh Wells

Thank You 2022 - Farewell to the Year & Staff Members

2022, what a challenging yet rewarding year we have had! Even with all the disruptions around Covid WAYJO has achieved so much this year. WAYJO presented around 35 performances across 28 venues, visited 15 schools and ran 111 workshops across 5 programs!

That's a lot of work for a small office team, so we'll be taking a much needed break Friday 16 December 2022, returning to the office Monday 9 January 2023.

It's wonderful seeing the development of our musicians across all of our programs and productions. Our MinterEllison Monday, St John of God Health Care Tuesday, and WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestras have worked so hard throughout the year and have made WAYJO so successful. Then there is the great work that all of our Pathways Participants in the Northern Corridor Training Band, Young Women in Jazz, WAYJO Club, and outer metro school concert workshops. Well done team WAYJO!

I acknowledge with gratitude our dedicated staff members Mace, Emily, Justine, Amanda, Marty, Ricki, Gemma, Tom, Adrian and Jess and the WAYJO Board for their commitment. I welcome the newest addition to the WAYJO family Laura Halligan who is our new Events and Logistics Manager. I have no doubt her contribution to WAYJO will be amazing!

It is with heavy hearts that we farewell Emily Stokoe, our Events and Logistics Manager, and Justine Thornley, our Marketing Coordinator. Their dedication to their jobs has been simply incredible, always going well above and beyond the call of duty! Whilst we are sad to see them go, we all of course wish them the very best in their future endeavours. Em and Justine – on behalf of everyone at WAYJO thank you both for your marvellous contributions – you will be so missed by us all.

All of WAYJO's achievements would not be possible without our supporters and sponsors: The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industry, Healthway for the Act Belong Commit message, North West Shelf Gas, Minderoo Foundation, MinterEllison, St John of God Health Care, the City of Bayswater, the Simon Lee Foundation, the Bendat Foundation, the Stan Perron Foundation, all of our Private Donors, Seat Sponsors and 240 Club Members.

As General Manager and on behalf of WAYJO I sincerely thank all of you.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and look forward to an exciting 2023 when WAYJO turns the big 40.

Monique Douglas

WAYJO Seasons Greetings 2022


Band photo from 2022 Best of WAYJO show - Josh Wells

WAYJO presents Final 2022 Show at Quarry Amphitheatre, 25 November

In a grand finale to their 2022 season, WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) presents three big bands in one glorious night under the stars in The Best of 2022 at Quarry Amphitheatre, Friday 25 November.

“The band members have put in their votes for their favourite music that they have played throughout 2022” says WAYJO’s Artistic Director Dr Mace Francis. “They have selected some music from each concert and project including two new pieces commissioned as part of the Composer in Residence program.”

“The Wednesday Night Orchestra’s set will take you through music from the great swingin’ big band era of the 1940 to music composed in July this year!”

With three big bands on stage for one night only, tickets represent exceptional value for a fantastic show of diverse jazz to suit everyone’s taste.

WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra toured Margaret River and Bunbury in August. “The MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra will be selecting repertoire from their shows, featuring the music of Gemma Farrell, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Mingus. Get ready for an explosive set of big band music from the ever youthful MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra!” – MNO Musical Director Ricki Malet.

The St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra also toured the great Southern September, and present “… everything from Count Basie to Tito Puente and a whole gamut of swinging big-band jazz and funk in between. We always look forward to entertaining you with this performance as the culmination of a year’s worth of work and rehearsals. You might pay for the whole seat, but you will only need the edge!” – TNO Musical Director Marty Pervan.

The Quarry Amphitheatre is one of Perth’s premier outdoor performance venues. Nestled in the tranquil bush setting of Bold Park Reserve, it offers a stunning skyline view. Bring a picnic, choose from the Limestone Cafe menu on the night, or pre-order picnic hampers, and enjoy a jazz picnic under the stars with friends and family.

These bands have never sounded better after a year of working and touring together. A sell out several years in a row, be sure to book early for The Best of WAYJO 2022.

Stay tuned to wayjo.com as WAYJO prepares to celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2023.

The Best of WAYJO 2022
MinterEllison Monday, St John of God Health Care Tuesday, & WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestras
Fri 25 November, 7.30pm
Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach
Tickets wayjo.com


WAYJO thanks Government Partner the Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries, Principal Partner North West Shelf Gas, Major Programs Partner Minderoo Foundation, MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra Naming Rights Partner, St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra Naming Rights Partner, and Healthway Act Belong Commit for their continued support.

Photographs of 2021 WAYJO Quarry show by Josh Wells.

Best of WAYJO 2022 Poster

Tom Salleo - 2022 WAYJO AMD

2023 WAYJO Assistant Music Director Applications Open

Applications extended until Friday 2 December, 2022 - 12.00pm AWST

Proudly supported by the Simon Lee Foundation, the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) Assistant Musical Director program annually offers a mentoring traineeship for a young and emerging musical director.

The program is a unique opportunity to develop skills in conducting a large orchestral band, programming repertoire for an 18-piece big band, and developing the leadership skills required to inspire and enhance the skills and experience of young band members.

Experienced, music reading musicians aged 18 to 35 years during 2023 are invited to apply for this position, which runs at the WAYJO studio in Maylands, Western Australia.

Applications for 2023 WAYJO Assistant Musical Director open 9.00am, Monday 10 October, and close 5.00pm, Monday 28 November, 2022.

Head to wayjo.com/assistant-musical-director for details and application form – there is no cost to apply for this opportunity.

2023 WAYJO AMD Applications

“Training under the MD’s Ricki, Marty, and Mace has been an invaluable experience, which I have tapped into when working with my own bands and projects.

I’ve mostly enjoyed getting to know everyone throughout the year. After months of working and playing together, there’s a real sense of kinship between all the band members and staff alike.

Being a part of WAYJO and building connections with the team (MD’s, office staff, current members, and alumni) has opened up so many exciting career and musical opportunities for me.

I can’t imagine where my path would have led without WAYJO, and I hope to work here again in the future.”

Tom Salleo – 2022 WAYJO Assistant Musical Director


Photograph of Tom Salleo by Josh Wells (2022).

WAYJO presents Celebrating The Greats

WAYJO presents a Big Band Celebration of Jazz Greats

2022 is the 100th birthday celebration of legendary bassist/composer Charles Mingus, and WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday & St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestras are set to celebrate in big band style October 14 & 15, Downstairs at The Maj.

Several band members from the seminal Count Basie Orchestra line-up of the late 1950s also turn 100. Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Joe Newman, Frank Wess and Ernie Wilkins were all born in 1922, contributing iconic arrangements and solos on some of the band’s most famous recordings.

Come along for a night of classic jazz from not one but TWO big bands at His Majesty’s Theatre glorious downstairs bar, with food and beverage table service available. There are numerous public transport options, and FREE night-time parking from 6.00pm at the City of Perth’s His Majesty’s carpark, entry off Murray Street.

As WAYJO’s second last show for the 2022 season, you’d best get friends and family together and book your favourite table soon.

WAYJO presents Celebrating the Greats: 100th Birthday of Basie Band & Charles Mingus
MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra & St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra
Fri 14 & Sat 15 October, 7.30pm
Downstairs at The Maj, Perth
Tickets artsculturetrust.wa.gov.au/wayjo

WAYJO also presents a 1-hour Act Belong Commit concert-workshop for schools, Fri 14 October, 1.00pm, Downstairs at The Maj – head to wayjo.com/education/concert-for-schools for details.

Celebrating the Greats Poster

WAYJO MNO (2022)

2023 WAYJO Band Auditions Open

2023 WAYJO Band Audition registrations open Monday 19 September for people wishing to participate in the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) in the coming year. Musicians interested in learning jazz performance and improvised big band music, aged 14-25 and able to rehearse in Perth during 2023, are encouraged to apply.

Positions in each of the three big bands are auditioned every year, offering the opportunity to perform at some of Perth’s best venues, work with top band leaders and touring guest artists, plus travel regionally, nationally and internationally. WAYJO also annually commissions original big band works, trains band leaders, and runs pathway educational programs.

A total of fifty-four places are available within three big bands – the MinterEllison Monday, St John of God Health Care Tuesday, and WAYJO Wednesday Night Orchestras. All three 18-piece bands each audition for Saxophones (2x Alto, 2x Tenor & 1x Baritone), 4x Trumpets, Trombones (3x Tenor & 1x Bass), 1x Guitar, 1x Bass, 1x Piano, 1x Drum Kit, plus 1x Vocalist.

Running the first two weekends in December, auditions are allocated on a first come first served basis. Aspiring band members are encouraged to register early, as places sold out in previous years.

Auditions and band rehearsals are held at WAYJO’s rehearsal studio in the historic Maylands Hall, located corner Eighth Avenue and Guildford Road. Musicians who cannot attend the December dates can apply through video audition.

At the forefront of forging professional, contemporary big band, ensemble and solo jazz artists since 1983, WAYJO’s impressive alumni includes international jazz luminaries Linda May Han Oh, Dane Alderson, Troy Roberts and Mat Jodrell.

WAYJO celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023 by continuing to build the future of Australian jazz through outstanding emerging jazz performer, composer and band leader opportunities.

Registrations for 2023 WAYJO Band Auditions close 5.00pm, Friday 18 November only if not filled prior. Visit wayjo.com/audition for all requirements and registration link, but don’t delay if you want to come and play!