The 40th annual Optimist Band Festival switches gears this week, from concert bands to jazz bands. Jazz After 9 welcomed some of the participants from this year's festival. Missed the interview? Watch here!

Classic 107 and Golden West Radio is very proud to be this year's sponsor of the 40th annual Optimist International Band Festival. For Manitoba concert and jazz band students, this festival is a right of passage. It is also a crucial part of music education in this province that has been the starting point for many Manitoba musicians. Participants have the opportunity to showcase their skills for an audience, share their love of music with other students and receive valuable feedback from professionals.

Last week thousands of students went through the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg performing their concert band repertoire. This week it's all about the jazz as more than 60 jazz bands from around the province get ready to show off their skills in front of adjudicators like Brad Shigeta, Greg Gatien and Jay Ashby. These performances will take place at North Kildonan Mennonite Brethren Church.

Jazz After 9 host Neil Coligan welcomed Festival Chair Bill Kristjanson who is a Band Director at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg. In a career spanning over thirty years he has taught at the senior and middle years levels, served as a Divisional Music Consultant in both the Louis Riel and Pembina Trails School Divisions and has taught music education courses at the University of Manitoba and Canadian Mennonite University.

Bill is also the past President of the Manitoba Music Educators' Association. He led the effort to unify the various Manitoba music educator groups. He is a part of a delegation that meets annually with the Minister of Education to promote music education, serves on the Provincial Steering Committee for the Arts, and has worked on the Provincial Music Curriculum.

Joining Bill was Greg Crowe who is one of three music teachers and Fine Arts Department Head at Glenlawn Collegiate where he's been teaching since 2010. He has two jazz bands participating in this year's competition - his grade 10 jazz band and the Glenlawn Collegiate Intermediate jazz band.

Greg also brought student Jacee Forsythe with him.

Watch the video here!



The bands start each day at around 9:00 AM and run through to the early evening. With the exception of the final day, Saturday, when they will run through into the evening

 For a full schedule go HERE.