Mentor/Protégé Program

Mentor/Protoge Program poster


Dear, parents, teachers, musicians and band followers,

Every time I turn around, I hear about the schools performing arts being down sized.

We, the Ventura Jazz Orchestra (VJO), would be honored do our part to help, and if this program we propose is a success, we would do it once a year.

The VJO has been blessed with a fantastic rehearsal room along with a great venue for performances at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura. The way we would like to help is to establish a Mentor/Protégé Program to incorporate students into the band, and after a few rehearsals, perform with the VJO in a show at the Poinsettia Pavilion Ballroom.

Here’s the way the program would work:

The 18-piece Ventura Jazz Orchestra has 14 wind/brass instruments and 4 rhythm instruments. Due to space constraints, we will only double the sax, trumpet, trombone, and vocal, each of whom will be a mentor. A protégé will be assigned to each of the fourteen… 14 students and 14 teachers.

We are looking to audition the following:

  • 1stAlto Sax
  • 2nd Alto Sax
  • 1stTenor Sax
  • 2nd Tenor Sax
  • Baritone Sax
  • 1st Trumpet
  • 2nd Trumpet
  • 3rd Trumpet
  • 4th Trumpet
  • 1st Trombone
  • 2nd Trombone
  • 3rd Trombone
  • Bass Trombone
  • Lead Vocal (we may have 2 vocal protégés, male or female)

The students to audition must be Ventura or Santa Barbara county residents, high school age and play their instrument at an intermediate level or higher. The idea is to give the protégé some real world experience by playing in a professional band with their own mentor.

Protégés need to understand that on time attendance, strong chops from exercise, and a practiced rehearsal set list is a must. Musicians that follow these guidelines will benefit most and increase the enjoyment of their instrument. Gratification comes after the work is done, never before.

Back when I was in high school and college, the jazz bands I played in (big band/jazz orchestra) rehearsed jazz music that was on the technical side… jazz charts with a lot of adlib solos. The songs lasted 4 to 7minutes. This music is great to learn, but in the seven years I have been directing the VJO, we haven’t been hired to play that style of music. Our clients want to dance, hear the melody/lyrics, and have the song last only three minutes or less. When the VJO is hired, we perform an average of 36 songs. I know this is asking too much of our protégés with only five rehearsals, so we will only ask the protégés to know half that number.

When we perform, there will be 4 sets. The first set will only be mentors. For the second set the protégés will join their mentor. After the second set, there will be a 15-minute break. The third set will be mentors only, and for the fourth set the protégés will again join their mentors. This is a total of 36 songs, 9 per set.

Auditions will be in February at the Poinsettia Pavilion. Please reply to this e-mail with a phone number and the best time to call. Assigned audition time will be discussed at that time. A packet will be e-mailed with instructions, sheet music and mp3’s to prepare for auditions.

Mentor/Protégé rehearsals are scheduled for:

Feb. 26th, March 5th, 12th, 19th, dress rehearsal March 26th (All Thursdays, 7-9:30 pm, 2015)


32-piece Ventura Jazz Orchestra Spring Swing Big Band Dance
Poinsettia Pavilion Ballroom
Friday, March 27th, 8pm downbeat

Tickets sales will be at the door. Proceeds will go to program costs.

This program is a win-win for all. Protégés will excel musically, as will mentors, since teaching heightens awareness of the basics. Parents and teachers will be proud and may even be inspired to do some dancing.

Once there was silence, then the band started. There was joy, and it was good.

I look forward to a successful, rewarding show.


Dean Adams
Lead Trombonist
Ventura Jazz Orchestra Groups

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