• Create an environment for ‘at-risk’ children to experience the beauty and power of jazz music through their own active participation.
• Empower participants by nurturing their creative energies from a fundamental place of self-awareness and self-esteem.
• Build community bonds by modelling the project on the rich and diverse multi cultural fabric of Canadian society.
• Develop young leaders by instilling an appreciation for the arts through a sense of hard work, accomplishment, self respect, and self discovery.
• Strengthen neighbourhoods by supporting the creation of permanent children’s choirs.
About We Are One Jazz Project
We Are One Jazz Project was founded in 2008 by Toronto-based jazz pianist and educator Howard Rees. It provides a creative answer to the needs of Toronto communities by bringing together young ‘at-risk’ children and master jazz musicians in an enriched learning and performance environment.
The project works in partnership with the Toronto District School Board to organize children (grades 3-6) in ‘high priority’ neighbourhoods into large-scale jazz choirs, directed and mentored by master musicians. Rehearsals over a four-month period lead to a public performance at a high-profile venue.
Each year, the project touches some 4,000 students, extended family, teachers, and community members. Thousands more learn about the project through alliances with various media, including TV, radio and print coverage, and social networks.
What People Are Saying
"Our kids still talk about the project and wear their t-shirts proudly!!! Thanks again for everything that YOU do to make this happen for our kids. It was an incredible experience and hopefully we can be involved again."
— Anna Epitropou, Principal, TDSB
"We Are One Jazz Project has given the students an opportunity that they don’t normally have because of the severe underfunding that the school system has gone through. Jazz is a genre that is normally outside of their reality. "
— Nigel Barriffe, Teacher, TDSB
"Thanks both professionally and personally. Not only did my kids have an excellent time, learned new musical skills and got to push themselves, but I also learned a ton of vocal teaching techniques that I can apply and take forward. "
— Adrian Goodman, Teacher, TDSB
"The Jazz Program has opened my eyes and is now helping me to chart a path toward a career in the arts. "
— TDSB Student