The story of the first year of the festival starts like the plot of an underdog movie—a group of passionate, like-minded individuals come together to do the seemingly impossible. That group was the Saskatoon Jazz Society and the project was the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. “It takes a lot of people to make events like this work, but each one needs a spark,” says journalist and author Ned Powers. “Jim Hill was that spark.” Powers says Hill had a magic combination—a mind for business and a love of music. Former SJS President and longtime festival supporter Mona Chappell was on the founding committee alongside Hill. Chappell recalls, “At the first meeting we said, ‘Three whole days! Do you really think we can do three whole days?’ We were determined and there were some pretty strong people on the board so we knew we could do it.” With a dedicated team and a common goal, the SJS worked tirelessly to make the inaugural festival a success.
Along with their continued involvement with the festival, the SJS plays an integral role Saskatoon’s music community with involvement in the Jazz Intensive, running the Bassment and supporting many established and up-and-coming artists. Head on down to the Bassment or visit them at saskatoonjazzsociety.com for more details.