Youth Jazz Festival to broadcast online
The event, which has been held since 2003, will for the first time be seen only on social media platforms due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will be recorded at a theatre for its debut in October.
Artscape chief executive Marlene le Roux said the decision to hold the festival virtually was the right decision.
“We sat down as a think tank and said that we cannot just say that this year is pencilled out,” she said.
“A lot of youngsters who are now professional jazz musicians started out with us as part of the youth programme. We sat down and agreed we should do it virtually.”
Auditions for the festival are open until Sunday, July19, and are open to musicians and vocalists from across the Western Cape.
“It’s not just UCT or Stellenbosch students who are auditioning,” Le Roux said.
“There are gems out there in our informal settlements, the Cape Flats or rural areas that nobody knows of. A brilliant instrumentalist or singer will audition and then receive training.
“Virtually, the whole world can see this talent. We will record it and stream here at Artscape. We will produce a professional product that will not be confined to the concert hall.”
The festival is a platform for young performers to be showcased, such as UCT vocalist Marzia Barry who performed at the last two festivals and has also auditioned for this year.
“I loved every moment,” Barry said. “Especially the mentor sessions, those were my favourite. It’s such a nice platform to learn South African songs and perform with live bands in a very nice venue. It’s a wonderful opportunity to do that at a young age.”
Applicants for this year were required to submit up to two audition videos of them performing any standard jazz tune, which they could send via the Artscape website or via WhatsApp.
“I think going online could be a better alternative, especially since it could reach a lot more people around the world,” Barry added.
“It’s a good thing, but obviously the audience can feed off the music better when we’re performing live. You don’t have that online, but it is a good opportunity to show off to people.”
From the audition, up to a dozen applicants will be selected to work with professional mentors during a week in September in online master classes and workshops, as well as physical rehearsals at the theatre.
“This way we get to tap into a much larger group of people with expertise, and not just the usual five mentors,” said mentor and musical director Amanda Tiffin.
“There will be 10 or 12 different workshops. Everyone who ascends from the auditions will have access to the masterclasses.”
To support their participation, the applicants will be provided with internet data, which allows for a greater level of access and participation.