The Generations in Jazz Experience

The Generations in Jazz Experience

It seems inadequate to describe what Generations in Jazz is in words.

As many would say “you really need to go and experience it to know what it’s all about”.

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James Morrison - Artistic Director

From basic beginnings in 1982 as a testimonial for local musicians in Mount Gambier – Frank Cleves, Tom OÇonnor and Joe Hannigan – this event organized by two sons – Dale Cleves (OAM) and Leigh O’Connor along with Malcolm Bromley, has grown and developed into something way beyond the initial concept.

These gentlemen now known as the “ Founders “ have contributed to the event and from 1982 have seen it evolve to what it is today.

The initial component of the event was the James Morrison Jazz Scholarship, first held in 1989, and enhanced by the personal support and endorsement of world renowned musician, James Morrison AM.

After a short period of time it was realized there was a greater opportunity for the event’s development by incorporating a National Stage Band competition as part of a weekend of activities.

In 1993 eight school bands travelled to Mount Gambier to perform as part of the City of Mount Gambier National Stage Band Awards, with major support offered from the Council – who remain ongoing major sponsors

The event grew in the number of schools participating over many years, with wider representation from all states and as of 2019 two schools from New Zealand.

In 2004 the Generations in Jazz Vocal Scholarship was introduced and as part of the collaborative approach from GIJ with schools, in 2012 the Vocal Ensemble Awards were introduced under the guidance and support of The Idea of North.

The GIJ Big Top

The addition of the Small Jazz Combo Division has filled another gap for the school’s music program, offering an outlet for performance in an educational and social environment.

This is the strength of GIJ – the desire and ability for continual improvement for the participants based on mutual respect and understanding of the organization and the schools and their needs.

It is a unique educational and social experience for all concerned – Music Directors, Students, Supervisors, Bus Drivers, Guest Artists, Musicians, Production crew, Public, Volunteers, Contractors and GIJ team members.

Imagine “the largest big top in the Southern Hemisphere “in a paddock, ten minutes from the heart of Mount Gambier, seating 8000 people as part of a major concert that would rival any city based venue.

Imagine finding accommodation for 5500 participants as do the GIJ Accommodation Team.

Imagine 5500 participants being fed in three venues, over two or three sittings for dinner from Friday to lunch on Sunday, or thirteen separate venues being utilized over an area of eighty acres for Saturday’s school competition.

The size and logistical challenge of the event is enormous, but the rewards are equally so.

There is no better feeling than Sunday afternoon when the buses pull out for home and the overwhelming feeling is that everyone has embraced and experienced “the spirit of Generations “