When Trygve (Tryg) Fredrickson was appointed as the executive director of the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society, he didn’t realize how many areas of education and programming the nonprofit impacted throughout the state.
“It really wasn’t until talking with the board members [that I learned] what the true reason is and why the organization exists, and that is the education component and the awareness of jazz and blues music in Sioux Falls and the community,” said Fredrickson.
That has been one of his goals as he prepared for JazzFest 2019: Getting the mission better understood, alongside sharing the “why” behind JazzFest as the source of fundraising, all while providing a year of jazz and blues education and programming.
“i had no idea how impactful the [jazz & blues] society was until i started getting thank you emails and watched these students grow through our programs. that’s an impact you can’t put a price tag on.” – Trygve (Tryg) Fredrickson, executive director of the sioux falls jazz and blues society
This year’s JazzFest is July 19 and 20, and performers will once again take to two stages at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls. Tryg says it’s a year of bringing back performers by popular demand, with seven returning for an encore.
Performances start on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with local Sioux Falls group Tempo taking the stage before Miss Myra & The Moonshiners perform a repertoire of New Orleans and hot jazz music. The evening is headlined by Tower of Power, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a soulful, instrumental, R&B favorite. Saturday Tryg describes as “strong in fun” with the band MarchFourth bringing brassy funk, rock, jazz, and a circus twist all to create an evening of music that “all ages should get a kick out of.”
The day kicks off at noon, and the evening ends with the band Here Come the Mummies taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. The eight-piece band of “Egyptian mummies” will end the night with fun funk-rock tunes before fireworks light up the sky above the main stage.
“You can tell it feels like a summer celebration,” said SFJB events manager Ashley Meiners.
Since JazzFest started in 1988, it now draws a crowd of over 100,000 concert goers with a volunteer team of around 700. This growth has also expanded the SFJB’s ability to teach and share this genre of music that is uniquely American.
“I PARTICIPATED IN JAZZ CAMP FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS. THROUGH THE EXPOSURE OF HAVING A JAZZ MASTER DOING WORKSHOPS, CLINICS, AND PLAYING WITH THE STUDENTS AT THE CAMP, [IT] REALLY TAUGHT ME ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND LESSONS THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO ALL AREAS OF LIFE.”-EMMANUEL MICHAEL
Funds from JazzFest go toward year-round programs like the All City Jazz Ensemble, a group of about 40 middle and high school students who audition to be selected, before spending weeks rehearsing leading up to a concert.
Brian Hanegan, now director of jazz studies and assistant professor of music at Augustana University, made the high school ensemble his junior and senior year on saxophone. As a Roosevelt High School student, “It gave me the opportunity to play with great high school talent within Sioux Falls and several members of that group I still play with today,” he said.
Fredrickson says the jazz ensemble promotes music collaboration across schools, giving the best Sioux Falls jazz students the chance to learn and play together.
FRIDAY, JULY 19
MISS MYRA AND THE MOONSHINERS
TOWER OF POWER
SATURDAY, JULY 20
JAZZFEST JAZZ CAMP W/ ROB PARTON
JACK BRASS BAND
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR
HERE COME THE MUMMIES
“we’re really fortunate to have support for arts and music in our city… especially with all of the breweries and local businesses, there’s a lot of unique cultural aspects of sioux falls. and with the support of live music, it makes sioux falls what it is.” – brain hanegan, director of jazz studies and assistant professor of music at augustana university
Other programs include the Jazz Diversity Project, which is a group of five professional musicians who travel across the state to middle and high schools. They perform and introduce jazz within the content of history, humanities, and social studies during an hourlong presentation.
“TRAVELING ACROSS SOUTH DAKOTA TO EVERY CORNER OF OUR STATE INTRODUCING YOUNG PEOPLE TO THIS GREAT MUSIC HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST PRIVILEGES OF MY PLAYING CAREER. I’M THANKFUL THAT THE SIOUX FALLS JAZZ & BLUES SOCIETY HAS MADE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH AN IMPORTANT AND VITAL PART OF THEIR MISSION THROUGH THE JAZZ DIVERSITY PROJECT.” -JIM SPEIRS, JAZZ DIVERSITY PROJECT
“Originally we talked about this notion that if you’re a student you might learn about classic European composers, like Mozart and Bach,” said Jim Speirs, who plays the trumpet in the ensemble. “But how many students know the name of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and the great American composers?”
The goal isn’t to reach students who are already active in music. Instead they want audience members to grow in appreciation for the jazz and blues art form.
“You may not buy a Duke Ellington album, but we want them to understand that this music had an impact on our history and country today,” said Speirs. Speirs has played in every presentation since the Jazz Diversity Project started in 2006. Each year they put on about 25 programs throughout South Dakota, from Lemmon to Pine Ridge, and in many smaller communities that have less than a 100 students in K-12.
“For some of these students it may be the only professional music ensemble that they hear in their entire young life,” said Speirs. “It’s cool to see students light up and show interest as we introduce great American music for the first time to young people.”
“this year we’re really looking to change the perspective of jazzfest to focus on jazzfest being the engine of our other programs – we rely heavily on those funds to go in and out of schools throughout the year.” – ashley meiners, jazzfest events manager
The most recent addition to the Jazz and Blue Society’s programming is Jazz Camp, a summer program where students get to rehearse and learn from local professionals, before performing on the second day of JazzFest. A couple of changes to this year’s event involve beverages, including the addition of mixed drinks, along with a craft beer tent serving local brews on tap.
“We’re really taking the approach of looking at JazzFest as a community event, so we thought it was fitting to reach out to craft breweries who serve us locally,” said Meiners.
There will also be an expanded kids’ area with hands-on music and play activities.
These new elements to the two-day music festival aim to continue growing a community celebration about appreciating and experiencing great music, all while receiving donations that will reach every corner of South Dakota.
“I didn’t understand how many areas it benefited [before my new role],” said Fredrickson. “I like to say the bottom line is it’s changing lives, and that’s something that we’re doing.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SIOUXFALLSJAZZFEST.COM.