Juneau Jazz & Classics (Juneau, AK)


A musician in front of a microphone, his eyes closed tightly, in a gesture of concentration.  A guitar in his hands is partially visible.

Blues/gospel artists the Holmes Brothers performing at the 2005 Juneau Jazz &
Classics festival. Photo by Michael Penn

In 1986, a group of Juneau musicians and music lovers conceived the idea of creating a music festival in their remote part of the country, offering both formal and informal concerts, workshops for musicians, and outreach activities within the community. Since then, Juneau Jazz & Classics (JJC) has been bringing the nine-day festival to the Southeast Alaska community of Juneau, featuring world-class jazz and classical artists in concert and in residency.

In FY 2005, Juneau Jazz & Classics received an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence grant of $10,000 to support the 2005 festival. The festival, May 20-28, presented 19 concerts, including a family concert, six free concerts, a full day of performance opportunities for local bands, and residency activities for local schools and bands. More than 5,000 people attended the festival, and an additional 1,100 individuals were involved in residency activities. A radio broadcast of a jazz concert reached thousands more.

The artists who performed at the 2005 festival included Chicago blues/gospel act the Holmes Brothers, baritone singer Jubilant Sykes, folk duo Trout Fishing in America, and jazz artists the Larry Coryell Trio. Roger Neumann and the Headliners, with vocalist Madeline Vergari, were the jazz artists-in-residence, and New Orleans musicians Cyril Neville and the Uptown Allstars with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and Joseph Hill of the Golden Eagles provided the finale concert.

The festival reached an estimated 3,000 young people through concerts, workshops, clinics, and school activities. After one string workshop, a parent said it was the "very best violin lesson" his five-year-old son had ever had.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)