We Are One Jazz Project was founded in 2008. Each year, WAOJP brings a dynamic jazz mentoring and performance program to several hundred young students. Now entering it's 7th year, our award-winning program has touched some 28,000 lives. We have worked with more than 2,100 young students drawn from 55+ elementary schools in 6 priority neighborhoods of Toronto.
WAOJP is partnered with the Toronto District School Board. Each year the TDSB assigns our program to a different priority area of Toronto.
WAOJP’s mission is to build and sustain an intensive social program that provides a dynamic jazz choir mentoring experience to inspire elementary school aged children from priority areas of Toronto. Our goal is to assist participants in realizing their full potential as students, musicians, and community members.
Our vision is to instill a strong sense of community, self-respect, and mutual support in our young students through the pursuit of musical excellence in order to prepare them for a better tomorrow.
Jazz is a Universal Language - Music enriches our lives and is an essential element of every community. The beauty and power of jazz has historically been used as a means of unifying and educating people and as a tool to overcome oppression. The voice is the first instrument, and claiming one’s voice remains one of the most effective tools for social change and social action.
Inclusion – WAOJP proudly reflects the diverse fabric of Canadian society. All are welcome, regardless of race, gender, social background, or religion.
Teamwork – Central to our jazz vocal program is the concept of working together for a common purpose.
Cooperation – is a central part of our program. So also is sharing ideas and taking on leadership within defined creative group activities. Participants are coached on developing listening and performing skills. Everything is about the group experience and sound; the culture is one of mutual respect and support.
Leadership Through Mentoring – WAOJP values the apprenticeship model. Through our multi-generational staff including our internationally acclaimed senior mentor, nationally known teachers, conductors, coaches, professional musicians, and our high school strings and elementary aged choir members, mentoring works on several levels at once.
Social change - WAOJP produces better citizens, stronger communities, and a brighter future.
How This Works – The children’s Jazz Choir is an intensive choral program that enhances social development building confidence and self esteem in our young participants through the power and beauty of jazz.
The weekly mass Jazz Choir rehearsals’ goal of performing with a beautiful group sound is attained through developing listening, concentration and memorization skills necessary to publically perform an evening of challenging music. In the weekly In-School Coaching Sessions and Song Writing Workshops, students have the opportunity to work in small groups and learn song writing skills including creating their own lyrics, melodies and accompaniment. As well, the art of jazz improvisation is introduced giving participants an opportunity to develop their skills as a ‘soloist’.
WAOJP delivers a combined three hours of large choir and small group choral instruction per week from September to March. This takes place on up to 3 days per week during regular school hours. The program is offered free of charge during regular school hours and requires no prior music background.
The choir is more than simply an artistic structure. It is a model through which to teach the children values such as cooperation and mutual support. The children quickly learn that they belong to something greater than the sum of its parts, and they acquire valuable life skills by:
As well as transforming the lives of the children, WAOJP builds stronger communities. The children gain a foundation to grow and thrive as engaged citizens and future leaders. A happy and fulfilled child makes for a more engaged student, and a happier family, which is the basis for a vigorous, healthy community.