Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage
YJED MasterClass online - a new program!
While we cannot rehearse or perform as a group right now, it is important to continue YJED's educational mission to help develop top high school jazz musicians from the many high schools in DuPage County and surrounding areas.
The YJED MasterClass online program is structured to provide online clinics by top jazz performers, educators, and clinicians on specific topics of interest to these high school jazz musicians.
In addition to our 2019-20 YJED members, we also invite prospective members, and local high school band directors to take part in YJED MasterClass online!
Our first MasterClass was led by award-winning trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. Our next upcoming one will be led by alto player and educator Mike Smith in December,
Click on the MasterClass tab (or this link) for more information
The YJED MasterClass series is supported in part by a grant from the JCS Arts, Health, and Education Fund of the DuPage Foundation.
Start of the 2020-21 Season postponed
We will not be able to begin rehearsals for the 2020-21 YJED season during this Fall semester.
The YJED Board, led by director and founder Robert Blazek, has been working this summer to develop a plan for YJED with the uncertainty that Covid-19 has created. We were able to develop solutions for many of the challenges, but renting a rehearsal space for students coming from 10-20 different high schools is a challenge that right now we have not solved (many school districts right now have policies in place limiting usage of their facilities by people who are not students at that specific school).
We will be continuing to explore options that might allow us to safely rehearse and perform starting in early 2021.
We have provided additional details to last year members and their families, as well as to prospective members who reached out to us via our website Contact tab. Please reach out to us if you have not received an email with the additional details.
Finally, if you or a family member are interested in YJED and are a high school musician who is interested in performing challenging professional-level jazz music literature at a high level, please reach out to our director, Mr. Blazek using our website Contact tab. We will include you on updates to our season.
See what we did in just a few months of our shortened 2019-20 season
We try to capture video and pictures from our concerts on our website here. Of course it's no substitute for actually being there, but you can hear how we progress through the year.
Although Covid-19 forced cancellation of performances at the Jazz Showcase and the Fulton Street Collective...as well as our Spring Concert featuring Victor Garcia, our photo and video pages feature two performances of the 2019-20 season.
The first was an opening set for the great Chicago Skyliners Big Band led by Bill O'Connell...in November at Fitzgerald's...after only four rehearsals.
Our second performance in January at our Winter Concert featured Guest Artist saxophonist Chris Madsen. Chris is a composer, is on faculty at University of Illinois - Chicago, and has performed with Wynton Marsalis and many other top jazz musicians.
So click on the tabs above and check them out!
Mark Colby - In memoriam
Join us in listening to Mark:
The YJED family mourns the recent loss of a dear friend, Mark Colby. Mark had the quintessential tenor sound and what a glorious sound it was. Mark was not only one of the top tenor players in the country but a tremendously giving person. His influence on young saxophonists is heard throughout the United States.
Mr. Colby was an original YJED board member, a position he held for five seasons. He shared his love and music and caring personality with everyone he met and of course was a huge inspiration to all of us in YJED. Mark was a guest artist multiple times and was featured on 10 different YJED albums over the years.
I personally owe a great deal to Mark for guiding my jazz hand and sharing his knowledge of music and life. Thank you Mark for being you and giving back to the profession you loved so dearly. I know that someday, we will meet again over the rainbow.
In sorrow and love,
YJED MasterClass online - Support through GoFundMe
Normally, at the end of each season, the band produces a recording with the best of their season's songs with GoFundMe donations helping to fund studio time, sound mixing and mastering, and production. Due to Covid-19, we were not able to record for the 2019-20 season.
Explained above, as we are not currently able to rehearse and perform, we are instead providing a series of YJED Masterclasses online. Your donations will help fund our ability to have Jazz Masters present our MasterClasses to current and prospective YJED members, and the high school band directors who teach them.
Click on the yellow "Donate via GoFundMe" button for more details and to make a donation electronically.
If you prefer to donate by check, make the check payable to “Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage” and mail it to the YJED Treasurer at Judi Jenz, 305 S. Naperville Rd., Wheaton IL 60187. (Make sure your name and address is on the check to receive a tax deduction receipt). Thanks!