Okanagan Mission Secondary school jazz band rehearses for BC Interior Jazz Festival starting April 11. Photo: Mackenzie Britton/Capital News

Kelowna’s OKM jazz band ready for BC Interior Jazz Festival

The festival runs April 11 to 13

The Okanagan Mission Secondary School jazz band is ready to represent their sound at the BC Interior Jazz Festival.

The BC Interior Jazz Festival is entering its 42nd year, and the OKM band is happy to return to compete against other local schools, and take in some shows and workshops from other jazz musicians who attend the festival.

OKM music teacher Megan Frederick said that both new and returning students enjoy the yearly festival.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for the program, for the kids. The students that we work with in the music program, we’ve been with them for five years, and for them to be able to go in their Grade 12 year and compete in the festival together and perform with their peers, is such a cool experience,” said Frederick.

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It’s friendly festival performances among other Okanagan school jazz bands that allows students in band programs to search and work toward finding post-secondary options in music, or continuing to play their preferred instrument with passion after graduation.

Frederick credits festival director Chris Perry for continuing the festival that students at OKM, and other schools in the Okanagan, have enjoyed for 42 years.

“He’s put in a phenomenal amount of work into this, and it’s so cool to see all the schools come together,” said Frederick. For (students) to get to know each other, perform together, and to support each other through the appreciation of music; it’s such a great gem for our city.”

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Some students are coming into the festival for their first year with OKM jazz band, while others are relishing in the last visit with their band.

“It’s crazy, I’ve met a lot of great people, and that’s something I’m definitely going to carry through,” said Grade 12 student Brooklyn Ballic, who plays trumpet with OKM.

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The BC Interior Jazz Festival, which runs from April 11 to 13, isn’t the only thing the OKM jazz band has to look forward to, the band has been invited to compete in May’s national championships, MusicFest Canada, in Ottawa.

The best jazz bands from around the country will perform and share music creativity, education, and achievements.

Though it’s Carleigh Quiring’s first and last time going to nationals, the Grade 12 student is happy that she gets to go with her band.

“It’ll be our schools first time going to nationals, it’s bittersweet. This is a pretty cool opportunity to be playing with the OKM jazz band, cause we have a great music program,” said Quiring. “To call it quits after this year is kind of sad, but at least I got the experience.”

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Information on OKM’s performance, and more, at the BC Interior Jazz Festival can be found at bcinteriorjazzfestival.com.

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