Sarah McKenzie with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra

Sarah McKenzie with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra

Internationally acclaimed Australian jazz pianist and vocalist Sarah McKenzie reunites with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) for an evening of Brazilian-inspired big band jazz in the iconic Liberty Theatre.

Sarah McKenzie performs with WAYJO at The Liberty Theatre. Image by Kharen Hill.

Hailed as a once-in-a-generation talent, Sarah returns to her roots in Perth, where she first honed her skills with WAYJO. With an impressive international touring history, including performances alongside Michael Bublé, Enrico Rava, and John Patitucci, Sarah’s lyrical sense of swing has been compared to that of Blossom Dearie and Diana Krall.

Her sixth and latest album, ‘Without You,’ is a reinvention of the timeless music of Brazilian jazz, infused with fresh ideas and subtle surprises. Featuring treasured classics such as ‘Corcovado’ (Quiet Nights) and ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ alongside Sarah’s original compositions influenced by the likes of Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, and Astrud Gilberto.

Performing in the Liberty Theatre in the heart of the Perth CBD, the venue exudes nostalgia and mystery. The Liberty Theatre first opened as an art house cinema in 1954 but has been closed for decades. This is a unique opportunity to see live music in a venue that is rarely open to the public.

Sarah McKenzie graces the stage with WAYJO’s 18-piece Monday Night Orchestra, with big band adaptations breathing new energy into her remarkable repertoire spanning her career. From gentle sway of Brazilian jazz to soulful ballads, audiences will be immersed in the combination of paying homage to tradition, and innovation.

This event is presented by WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) and the Perth International Jazz Festival (PIJF).


Sarah McKenzie with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra
Time:
7:30 – 9:30pm
Date: Saturday 11 May 2024
Venue: The Liberty Theatre
TICKETS FROM MEGATIX



Sarah McKenzie reunites with WAYJO

WAYJO is excited to collaborate with the Perth International Jazz Festival to bring the acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, and singer Sarah McKenzie (USA) back to Perth as part of her Australian tour.

Sarah McKenzie by Karen Hill.

Sarah has recently released her sixth album of Brazilian-inspired jazz titled ‘Without You,’ blending “inventive reworkings of classic songs from (Antonio Carlos) Jobim and others with four of McKenzie’s original compositions” – Jazzwise ★★★★

James Morrison has described her as a “once-in-a-generation talent and music marvel.” Her pronounced lyrical sense of swing has drawn comparisons to Blossom Dearie and Diana Krall.

“I’ve always loved the music of Brazil, Tom Jobim, Elis Regina, and of course Astrud Gilberto,” says Sarah McKenzie. “What I especially love about Jobim is the simplicity and clarity of his melodies, songs that one can remember and sing.”

Sarah will perform over two nights at the Liberty Theatre in the heart of Perth. Tucked away on Barrack Street, the Liberty Theatre opened as Perth’s first art house cinema in 1954. Rarely open to the public, these performances offer a unique opportunity to experience live jazz music in a vintage architectural gem.

On Friday, May 10, Sarah will be joined by renowned Perth-based jazz musicians Kristian Borring (guitar), Nick Abbey (bass), and Pete Evans (drums) for an intimate performance. Then on Saturday, May 11, WAYJO’s 18-piece Monday Night Orchestra bring the big band energy, with bold brass and bass sections to accompany her smooth Brazilian jazz songs and soulful ballads.

This is also a special reunion between Sarah and WAYJO, while she was born in Melbourne, she studied at the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and WAYJO is proud to call her an alum. In fact, the last time she performed with WAYJO was in 2012 with Mike Stewart, before she relocated to America when she was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston.

Jazz afficionados and admirers of classic Brazilian tracks such as Jobim’s ‘Corcovado’ (Quiet Nights), ‘Once I Loved,’ and ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ shouldn’t miss these performances of what Peter Quinn at Jazzwise calls “the most bittersweet gems in the Jobim canon.”


WAYJO’s Season Celebration: Hyde Park

Join the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra on the lawns of Hyde Park for a Sunday afternoon of jazz and the first concert of 2024!

This free, family-friendly event features music from all three big bands: Monday Night Orchestra, St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra, and Wednesday Night Orchestra.

You’ll also be the first to hear about WAYJO’s upcoming events, tours, the special international guest artists joining the orchestras this year, and what’s in store for the programs supporting emerging musicians.

Pack a picnic and come listen to the swingin’ sounds of jazz from your favourite youth jazz orchestra in the lush green surrounds of Hyde Park, this year introducing some of the youngest performers yet!

WAYJO’s Season Celebration: Hyde Park
3-5pm, Sun 24 March 2024
Free event – all invited!

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, and St John of God Health Care Tuesday Night Orchestra Naming Rights Partner for their continued support.


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.


WAYJO’s Best of 2023

WAYJO’s Best of 2023 is the final performance of WAYJO’s 40th year and an opportunity to showcase all three orchestras and their favourite repertoire of the year set at the beautiful the Quarry Amphitheatre on Saturday 18 November.

WAYJO’s Best of 2023
7:30pm – 10pm, Saturday 18 November
Quarry Amphitheatre
BOOK TICKETS


WAYJO NC plays The Ellington

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

The band is currently comprised of students from 12 different schools across Perth and the Peel region, with students travelling from Mandurah to Duncraig for the weekly rehearsals.

These young musicians are driven by a love of jazz that is palpable in their on-stage presence and commitment to their craft. They’ll be showcasing a myriad of big band tunes from iconic bands like Count Basie and Duke Ellington, right through to modern compositions by Perth’s own, Gemma Farrell.

Come and experience the next generation of Australian jazz legends before they become famous!

Music Director: Jess Herbert

WAYJO NC PLAYS THE ELLINGTON
Sunday 29 October 2023
Doors: 3pm
Show: 3:30pm to 4:30pm
The Ellington Jazz Club
Book Tickets


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

Join us as the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra brings the swing and celebrates some of the greats: the Count, the Duke, and the Voice.

Performing the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and more, WAYJO’s 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.

As he pays tribute to the great tenor saxophonists of the swing era, and maybe even sings a song or two – don’t miss this special evening of vintage rhythms, sophisticated sounds, and timeless classics.

Don’t Get Around Much Any More: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm – 9:30pm, Saturday 16 September
Downstairs at The Maj
BOOK TICKETS


Swingin' at St Stephen's

WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School.

From high school jazz musician to WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) member and beyond, join us for a night of swingin’ classics as we celebrate WAYJO’s Pathways Program and its ongoing relationship with St Stephen’s School in the development of young jazz musicians in WA.

Featuring WAYJO’s MinterEllison Monday Night Orchestra with special guest artist David Theak (NSW) and support from WAYJO’s Northern Corridor Band and St Stephen’s Swing Band, these three big bands will be performing the music of the greats including Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and more at St Stephen’s School’s state-of-the-art performance venue in Duncraig.

In national recognition of WAYJO’s Act Belong Commit Pathways Program made up of ‘Progressions’ for female-identifying and non-binary instrumentalists as well as the ‘Northern Corridor Band’, a high-school based big band that attracts students from Perth’s northern corridor and as far as Mandurah, Rockingham and Byford to rehearse at St Stephen’s School in Duncraig; the Pathways program was recently nominated as a finalist in the prestigious Art Music Awards for Excellence in Music Education for 2022.

Providing inspiration and opportunity for students to perform and develop, on the night they’ll be joined by a special guest – accomplished saxophonist David Theak, who is 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.

Don’t miss the special evening of vintage rhythms and timeless classics as WAYJO presents Swingin’ at St Stephen’s, proudly supported by St Stephen’s School.

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, City of Joondalup and Healthway Act-Belong-Commit for their continued support.

Swingin’ at St Stephen’s
7:30pm – 9:30pm, Friday 15 September
St Stephen’s School Theatre, Duncraig
BOOK TICKETS


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

Join us as the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra brings the swing and celebrates some of the greats: the Count, the Duke, and the Voice.

Performing the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and more, WAYJO’s 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.

As he pays tribute to the great tenor saxophonists of the swing era, and maybe even sings a song or two – don’t miss this special evening of vintage rhythms, sophisticated sounds, and timeless classics.

Don’t Get Around Much Any More: David Theak Meets WAYJO
7:30pm – 9:30pm, Thursday 14 September
Fishtrap Theatre, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
BOOK TICKETS


WAYJO’s 40th Anniversary Weekend

Celebrating 40 years of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra

You’re invited to the jazz party of the year as the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (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.

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.

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.

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

WAYJO’s 40th Festival Weekend

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

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

40th Anniversary Program

Friday Program

The guest alumni are some of the most accomplished jazz musicians in WA. Libby Hammer, recipient of the Perth Jazz Society’s Award for Most Outstanding Individual Contribution To Jazz in 2005, spent two years as resident vocalist for WAYJO and now returns to grace the stage in celebration of WAYJO’s four-decade history.

Catherine Noblet, who played for over 10 years in WAYJO in the late 1990s to mid 2000s, studied at WAAPA and undertook a master’s in jazz studies at the University of Illinois, studying with legendary trombonist Jim Pugh, and receiving a fellowship and teaching assistant position.

Saxophonist Gemma Farrell, leader of WAYJO’s Progressions program and winner of WAM’s Best Brass, String or Woodwind Instrumentalist in 2020, is the founder and musical director of the Artemis Orchestra, a predominately female big band which performs the original music of Australian women, non-binary, and transgender people.

And recent WAYJO alumni, vocalist Lucy Iffla, who is already carving a successful career and following achieving a Top 10 Nominee for the Wangaratta 2020 National Jazz Awards, showcases an elegant and timeless voice beyond her years.

Rapper Zero Emcee – who joined WAYJO last year in a collaboration called Beats & Pieces and was a highlight of last year’s program – will join the Wednesday Night Orchestra to add some hip hop flavour to the big band repertoire.

Saturday Program