It’s just weeks now until the biggest highlight in the city’s musical calendar, as final preparations get underway for the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival 2015.
The festival marks the official start of summer in Derry as thousands of music fans descend on the city to sing, swing and enjoy the very best local hospitality, with over 250 events taking place in over 60 venues. Organised by Derry City Council and supported by Diageo, the festival will take place from April 30 until May 4, and draws over 35,000 visitors to the city annually.
This year Derry will welcome modern jazz sensation Jamie Cullum – the highlight event in five days of Jazz, Jump, Jive, Swing, and Blues delivered on note by some of the best artists in the business.
The concert, which takes place on Monday, May 4th, will have a special local element as Jamie has invited none other than the St Mary’s College Choir to support him live on stage. The artist has a special connection with the school after he dropped in on the choir last year for a jamming session as part of the BBC Radio 4 Piano Pilgrimage series.
Festivals and Events manager with Derry City Council, Karan Leonard, said the programme had even more to offer music fans this year.
“We are delighted to welcome Jamie Cullum, who is of course recognised as one of the most exciting young jazz artists on the music scene. I know Jamie will attract a diverse range of music lovers to the festival, as he’s well known for his unique jazz interpretations of current music. That includes his young fans at St Mary’s College who will be thrilled to meet up with him again and actually perform at the concert. He got a fantastic reception on his first visit to the city and I have no doubt his return will be equally as popular.
“The programme this year offers music lovers of all ages the chance to sample a wide array of musical genres, performed by the highest calibre of artists including Louis Stewart, Charlie Wood and Camilla George. Local talent is well represented as always with performers such as David Lyttle, Dave Martin and John Leighton, and we have some international artists who will be travelling from across Europe and as far away as the US.”
The Festival opens appropriately on International Jazz Day and what better way to celebrate than with a selection of first rate performances from the cream of local jazz talent. Between 6pm – 8pm on April 30 a series of indoor and outdoor sets will take place at the Guildhall featuring the Paul McIntyre Trio, Gay McIntyre, George Hasson, John and Fiona Trotter, and lots more.
For those of you left standing at the edge of the dance floor last year now is your chance to shine! There are a few places still available at the jive lessons led by Jive and Ballroom champions David and Kathleen Cummings at the Alley Arts Theatre in Strabane. Over four weeks participants can pick up a range of steps and learn how to adapt to a variety of rhythms, including Jazz, Swing, Boogie Woogie, and Big Band sounds.
To book a place for the Alley Theatre Dance lessons, please go to the Alley Theatre or pay via the telephone on 028 7188 4760.
For more information on all the events featured in this year’s Jazz Programme go to www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com or visit the City of Derry Jazz Festival Facebook page