Graduating students honour instructors

Society sponsors jazz event

There comes a time in every student’s life when he or she must pick up whatever has been learned and take it to the next level. So it is with this year’s music graduates.

Andrew Roddan plays trumpet and guitar and has a passion for jazz. His parents, Chris and Laura Roddan, moved to Powell River 20 years ago. Being from the Lower Mainland they did not realize that they had just moved to a community which would help raise their son, yet to be born, to be one of this year’s top jazz musicians graduating from Brooks Secondary School and the influence of Powell River Academy of Music.

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His parents are passionate about music and at a very early age, Andrew was a Louis Armstrong fan and liked John Coltrane for bedtime music. After Chris and Laura met Walter Martella and Val Thompson, Andrew was entered into the music academy’s Apprentice Choir at age five, led by Susan Hoekstra. From there he received the tutelage of Martella, Roy Carson, Richard Olfert, Paul Cummings and private musicians Bob Drage, Ron Campbell and Mike Brooks.

“They played a significant role in getting me to where I am right now,” said Andrew. “I am grateful that Powell River has such accomplished music teachers.”

With Andrew’s upcoming graduation, he and and his parents decided to create a special musical evening, involving all of his past instructors, and various fellow students, including Adam Robertson and Brett Parrish. They spoke to Peter Taylor who decided to sponsor the event with West Coast Jazz and Blues Society. And with that came the idea to create a fund, “It Takes a Village,” that will support the growth of young musicians in Powell River. “There will be the resources available for someone else to reach out and get the musical help Andrew got,” said Chris.

The graduating music students and instructors are invited to play at what will be a jazz jam session. “We want to say thank you to all the people who did what they did,” said Chris. “They created a cool kid. We created a vision for where he could get to, but we did not have the tools to get him there.”

Music helps young musicians develop confidence. “They are in suits, they are behaving, disciplined, focused, have self-respect, they have courage—they sing in front of hundreds of people, kids do solos,” said Chris.

And, music works well with academics. “It gave me confidence, it gave me focus, I learned teamwork and business skills.,” said Andrew. He will be going to University of Victoria in September to pursue engineering. But jazz will remain his passion.

“Music is the thing Powell River does better than anything else, where we reach beyond our borders and create an image for this town,” said Chris. He referred to International Choral Kathaumixw, the delivery of the totem pole to the choir of the world in Slovenia, all the people who come to Powell River for music. “We are a centre of excellence for music. We need to grow it, support it and be grateful for it.”

Asked what he would like to say to his instructors, Andrew added, “A big thank you. This is my chance to thank them for helping me along. They mean a lot to me.”

The event takes place at 7:30 pm, Friday, June 5, at the Rainbow Room, Rodmay Hotel. Tickets are available at Rockit Music and Rodmay Beer and Wine Store for $15.

The organizers see this event as an annual concert. “West Coast Jazz and Blues Society is going to do this every year,” said Chris. “We want these kids who are really at the top moving forward. It is not about me and my kid, it is about the future of this town, which I think is inextricably tied to the success of our music program. This is just the beginning of what the society wants to bring to this town.”

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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