Starting in 2012, the National Capital Commission (NCC) will no longer fund Canada Day programming by the Ottawa Jazz Festival, or the TD Jazz Youth Summit.

Jazz Festival Executive Producer Catherine O'Grady told members at the Festival's Annual General Meeting on Wednesday that the Festival would do its best to maintain the integrity of both programs for 2012, but she was not sure beyond that.

Ottawa Jazz Festival executive producer Catherine O'Grady introduces the Youth Summit's Canada Day performance  ©Brett Delmage, 2008
Ottawa Jazz Festival executive producer Catherine O'Grady introduces the Youth Summit's Canada Day performance ©Brett Delmage, 2008
"[Canada Day] will be a regular festival day. It won't be ticketed: we would be mad to ticket anything in Confederation Park considering how much is free, but we will be having lots and lots of programming on July 1."

Last year, the NCC gave $45,000 to cover both programs; in previous years, it gave $30,000 for Canada Day programming in Confederation Park, and $30,000 for the Youth Summit, each year.

NCC Media Relations Officer Denise LeBlanc said the Commission had a positive working relationship with O'Grady and "it was by no means an easy decision to withdraw the money". She said the reason for the cut was deficits in the NCC budget.

She said they were looking at possible ways of integrating jazz programming into other NCC activities: for example, Winterlude, but nothing had yet been determined. (For the past two years, Ottawa improviser Jesse Stewart has opened Winterlude with performances on instruments made from ice.)

The Jazz Festival has provided daytime music programming in Confederation Park on Canada Day for the last few years, in partnership with the NCC. Because Canada Day usually occurs during the middle of the 10-day festival, it is logistically easier for the festival to continue responsibility for Confederation Park for the day. Canada Day will be the final day of the 2012 Jazz Festival.

The Jazz Youth Summit is a program run by the Festival that brings together the top young jazz musicians from across Canada, including Ottawa. They receive a full scholarship for a ten day intensive program focusing on their musical development as individuals and as a band. The Summit, which has run for seven years, has been conducted for the last several years by trumpeter Jim Lewis, a professor in Humber College's well-known jazz program. It has featured master classes by leading jazz musicians, including Ingrid and Christine Jensen, Petr Cancura, Bela Fleck, Darcy James Argue, and Herbie Hancock. The young musicians perform twice at the festival, once on Canada Day and once as a main stage opener, attend concerts, and participate in the late-night jam sessions. Richard Page and Lucas Haneman, who are now active, professional Ottawa jazz musicians, participated in the Summit in past years. Ottawa high-school trumpeter Emily Denison participated in 2011.

The deadline for applications for the 2012 Youth Summit is March 2, 2012.
More information is at ottawajazzfestival.com/index.php/2012-jazz-youth-summit/ .

    – Alayne McGregor

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