After a year hiatus, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra opens their 2021/22 season with the first of their mainstage shows. “Welcome Back” takes a look at music of WJO’s past and offers a glimpse into the near future.
“I’ll be thrilled once we get on stage and the music starts playing,” says WJO Artistic Director Dr. Richard Gillis.
After more than a year without an in-person audience, the WJO opens their season with a bit of musical reminiscing: Rob McConnell’s arrangement of “Ecaroh” by Horace Silver. “That was the first tune that the WJO ever played,” explains Gillis. Reflecting on that concert 24 years ago, Gillis remembers the audience and the excitement. “We hadn’t had that sort of thing in Winnipeg,” he says.
The concert also features a preview of some new projects, including Voices — A Musical Heritage.
Inspired by the communities and cultures that make up the fabric of Manitoba, the WJO commissioned various artists to reflect their heritage in music to be performed. John Stetch, Andrew Balfour, Rodrigo Muñoz, Michelle Grégoire and Gillis himself all wrote pieces for the project — one that will perhaps continue into the future.
“Maybe there will be a volume two,” muses Gillis. “There’s so many different voices in Winnipeg and Manitoba… it’s an exciting time artistically!”
The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s “Welcome Back” show takes places 2 pm Sunday, October 24 at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre (711 Jefferson Ave).
For more details and tickets, visit: www.winnipegjazzorchestra.com