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.

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 Seasons Greetings 2022

Happy Holidays from WAYJO

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra office closes for the holidays Friday 16 December, returning Monday 9 January, 2023.

The staff and board of WAYJO would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters throughout 2022, and wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday period.

Some ways to jazz up the holidays;


2022 WAYJO Supporters
2022 WAYJO Sponsors

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

2022 WAYJO AMD Tom Salleo

2022 WAYJO Assistant Musical Director Appointment

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) is proud to announce Tom Salleo has been appointed Associate Music Director for 2022, commencing in February.

WAYJO General Manager Monique Douglas states "It is with great pride that WAYJO welcomes Tom this year as our Assistant Music Director. Tom brings his unique experience to our Orchestras and we look forward to the knowledge and skill he will contribute to WAYJO this year."

Proudly supported by the Simon Lee Foundation, WAYJO’s Assistant Music Director (AMD) program annually offers a mentoring traineeship to an emerging Musical Director under the age of 35. A rare opportunity for emerging band leaders to develop skills in conducting a large band, the program also covers music library, repertoire programming for an 18-piece big band, while developing leadership skills required to inspire and enhance band member’s skills and experience.

WAYJO’s Artistic Director Dr Mace Francis selected Tom after a two-month public call-out and rigorous selection process. Tom is a hardworking and conscientious young musician and composer. His calm and considerate manner in front of the band will be well received, and I know he will be able to get some great music out of the bands. I am looking forward to working with Tom and seeing what he can contribute to the organisation.

Tom, who has experience as an instrumentalist, educator and composer, is also musical director of Hills Big Band and Swingshift Big Band. “After many years being part of the WAYJO community, I am thrilled to be working alongside WAYJO as Assistant Musical Director in 2022. I look forward to making great music and sharing the stage with the brightest young musicians of our generation. Thanks to WAYJO for offering me this incredible opportunity” states Tom.

WAYJO sincerely welcomes the new addition to its small team, and look forward to working with the director in training throughout the 2022 season, launching Sunday 20 March at Lyric Lane in Maylands.

Applications for 2023 WAYJO Assistant Musical Director open in October. Head to wayjo.com for a WAYJO eNews subscription to stay informed on upcoming opportunities within WAYJO’s orchestras, pathway ensembles, and the organisation.

Tom Salleo – WAYJO Assistant Musical Director 2022
Tom Salleo (23) – WAYJO Assistant Musical Director 2022.

Hashtags: #WAYJO2022 #WAYJOamd #MusicTraineeship

WAYJO thanks continuing Government Partner, the Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries, Lotterywest, 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.


Justine Thornley
WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

Dr Mace Francis
WAYJO Artistic Director
+61 8 9471 1950

WAYJO Management Vacancies

The WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) are currently advertising two management positions.

Links to apply for these roles are publicly available from wayjo.com/opportunities

WAYJO General Manager

Applications are sought from suitably qualified and experienced candidates to fill the role of General Manager.

Responsible for overall financial and strategic performance, this will be an on-going, full-time position subject to an initial 3-month probationary period.

Demonstrated leadership, communication, advocacy skills, a broad understanding of business development, fundraising and revenue generation in the arts industry, as well as knowledge of the not-for-profit arts sector, are required.

Please direct any queries to WAYJO Board Chair Simon Durack – simon.durack@wayjo.com

Applications for General Manager close Monday 8 March, 2021 at 9.00am AWST.


WAYJO Events & Logistics Manager

WA Youth Jazz Orchestra is seeking an Events and Logistics Manager. This part-time role, reporting to the General Manager, is responsible for managing all logistics of the three WAYJO bands, including event preparation, venue booking, regional tour coordination and more.

The role would suit applicants with experience in the music and arts industry with skills in administration and/or event production.

Please direct any queries to WAYJO General Manager Simon Keen – simon.keen@wayjo.com

Applications for Events & Logistics Manager close Monday 15 March, 2021 at 9.00am AWST.

WAYJO Announces the Resignation of General Manager

WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) announces the resignation of its General Manager, Simon Keen.

Since joining WAYJO some five years ago, Mr Keen has brought energy and passion to the role, growing the profile and reach of WAYJO considerably. WAYJO now holds an important position not just in Perth’s jazz scene and as part of the wider arts sector, poised for further growth as WAYJO looks toward its 40th Anniversary in 2023.

Outgoing WAYJO General Manager Simon Keen
Outgoing WAYJO General Manager Simon Keen

Mr Keen states, “I am very proud of what WAYJO has achieved during my tenure and humbled by the ongoing service we have been able to provide to our outstanding young musicians. Some personal highlights have included the introduction of our Jazz for Juniors program of concerts, the King Street Corner Pocket Jazz Festival, our commitment to featuring more female instrumentalists as part of our Guest Artist series, and our increasing presence in regional touring and representation. I am looking forwards to facing new challenges in my career and I wish WAYJO every success in the future. I thank the Board and staff for their support.”

Mr Simon Durack, Board Chair of WAYJO said that, “On behalf of the Board, I wish to sincerely thank Mr Keen for his achievements and dedicated service to WAYJO, and wish him all the very best for his future endeavours.”

The board will announce details regarding a new appointment in early 2021.

Media Contact
Justine Thornley, WAYJO Marketing
+61 8 9471 1950

2020 wayjo rehearsals return

WAYJO 2020 Announces Gradual COVID Comeback

It's been a while, but with pandemic isolation restrictions now lifting, WAYJO is gradually making a safe comeback.

At the last board meeting, the plan to re-open WAYJO in a staged approach was approved, with safety and health of everyone front of mind.

Given COVID-19 infection statistics in Western Australia remain on a downward trajectory, WAYJO plan the following actions.

From June 1;
Small, instrument/sectional rehearsals begin with ensemble numbers kept within safe limits.

From June 29; 
WAYJO staff return to office in a staged process to maintain safe physical distancing.

From July 20; 
All WAYJO staff return to normal office hours.
All WAYJO bands recommence full band rehearsals.

Thank you all for your understanding and patience throughout the lockdown period. We encourage to you maintain hygiene and distancing practices, and look forward to seeing you very soon.

We are hoping to safely present some concerts in the third &/or fourth quarter of the year.

#WAYJO2020 #COVID-19