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ICYMI: Young Halton musicians tuning up for High Rendition Jazz Band show

Jan. 20 performance will highlight talented young players from Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills
The High Rendition Jazz Band brings its Winter Spectacular to Oakville this month.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Jan. 10, 2024.

If you’re a fan of Ellington, Basie or Bacharach, then you’re in for a treat on Jan. 20 at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community Centre in Oakville.

The High Rendition Jazz Band, consisting of up-and-coming young musicians from throughout the Halton region, will perform a collection of jazz standards and a few contemporary songs for your musical entertainment.

High school-aged students from the four corners of Halton have been practising hard and rehearsing weekly for the past few months under the direction of Musical Director, Jules Estrin.

Some may know Estrin as the force behind the JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band for 16 years and current Jazz Music Director at the Interprovincial Music Camp. Estrin praises the determination and resilience of the young musicians in High Rendition.

He also noted the efforts of the parents and volunteers involved with the organization. “We had a great team that managed to get the group through the pandemic,” said Estrin. “By the end of the year we were able to re-build the band into a full jazz ensemble. These kids continued to practice, continued to improve, and didn’t want to give up on their dream of playing.”

Marcelo Tamaki, the co-president of the volunteer board overseeing the non-profit organization, added, “The discipline in these kids is amazing,” as he tells of his daughter, who is in the band, sticking to her practice schedule because she doesn’t want to let the others down.

Joining a group such as the High Rendition Jazz Band has certain requirements. All students must belong to their respective high school bands and must pass an audition, every year, in September. A fee of $500 per player helps cover costs such as rehearsal space, amplifiers, music stands, and sundries but there are allowances for some financial support if needed.

The band usually consists of trumpets, trombones, saxophones, drums and maybe guitar and bass. A singer or two may step away from their instrument to add vocals as required.

“It’s been my experience that there are always a couple of players that have absolutely decided to pursue a career in music, this is going to be their path,” said Estrin. “Others are along for the ride in terms of the benefits of a music education and being in a high performance group like this. They learn about organization, preparedness, getting to places on time – basic skills that help make them successful people.”

When asked what draws these young musicians to jazz music, Estrin explained, “There’s that creative side of jazz where you’re able to improvise. Even with the ensemble playing we’re not necessarily playing exactly what’s on the page every time, especially when there is a solo. After you play in a concert band or an ensemble in your formative years, you’re probably just ready for a different style of music.”

Estrin encourages students thinking about upping their musical game to come out to a performance and see what the band is up to. “For kids in, say Burlington, they could see others like them playing at a high level,” Estrin noted. “It’s a great experience for them and maybe they’ll join next year.”

Tamaki estimates that about one-third of the band comes from Burlington. At the same time, wearing his co-president hat, he encourages potential sponsors to come to a performance and consider joining the existing list of sponsors.

Tickets to the Winter Spectacular concert, which takes place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 20, are $10 each and can be purchased online 

To learn more about the High Rendition Jazz Band, visit

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Lawson Hunter

About the Author: Lawson Hunter

Lawson Hunter has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years. His articles on technology, the environment, and business have been published in local and national newspapers, magazines and trade publications
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