Welcome to you all. My name is Ivor Widdison and I am chair of the Will Michael Jazz Education Awards Panel. My colleagues on the Panel are Dr Catherine Tackley, Bill Martin (both of whom I am delighted to report are with us here today) Andrea Vicari and Richard Michael.
With us, formally to present the Awards, is Leslie East, Chair of the Jazz Committee of the Musicians’ Company, better known to some of you as the Worshipful Company, and significant supporters of jazz in the UK !
Diplomas are awarded annually to music Hubs and Music Services in England and Scotland. They matter because they are the only means of according national recognition to those Hubs and Music Services which demonstrate an outstanding commitment to jazz education. The Diplomas are named in honour of Will Michael who until his death in 2008 was a hugely respected jazz educator on the national stage; Will was also joint architect of the Awards Scheme.
It would be easy to allow our report this year to be dominated by depressing news about the struggles of our friends and colleagues to maintain effective music education policies. Inevitably, jazz education suffers in consequence. But there are beacons signalling all is not lost. For example, Arts Council England continues to offer some support, though pitifully small compared with classical music and opera, and bodies like the Ronnie Scott’s Foundation now grant aiding NYJO and jazz education INSET. And within our own scheme there is joy in receiving three excellent first time submissions, and two of them based north of the River Trent!
My colleagues and I on the Awards Panel offer our warm thanks to the Doncaster Music Education Hub, the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association and NYJO for hosting this event and the Musicians’ Company for their generous financial support.
Ivor Widdison, Chair, Will Michael Jazz Education Awards Panel.
View the 2016 report...