All That Jazz

Get ready to stamp your feet and bob your head to the beat, while listening to the energetic performance from Mt. Youtei Jr. Jazz School with members of the ACO. ​

Capturing the audiences’ heart as they step on stage with their sizeable brass instruments (which for some, are bigger than they are!), the kids quickly prove their talent as their first notes are played. Unafraid to take the stage, they spread an infectious feeling of joy every time they play at Niseko's musical night of nights each January.

ACO jazz players

Performing as the opening act for the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) event, the local band puts on a lively show in Niseko every year. See the young saxophonists tap away on the gold buttons all in perfect sync, while the drummers keep a consistent beat. Through the bright brass tones, fast tempo and fluid movements, the band’s cheerful spirit never fails to bring smiles to the crowd. Piecing together a brilliant act, it is hard to believe that the youngest member of the band is only seven years old. 

Watching over the band at every rehearsal, General Manager of Mt. Youtei Jr. Jazz School, Hiroshi Yamada has seen the children develop since the local jazz school was first formed in 2012. “The children work really hard with the teachers to put on a good performance,” Yamada says.

Mt. Youtei Junior Jazz Band

Behind the scenes, the kids are committed to a demanding practice routine and display an immense amount of professionalism. Attending a vigorous four-hour rehearsal fortnightly, the kids don’t stop practicing there. “Because they want everyone to enjoy their show they practice a lot more at home,” Yamada explains. 

Composed and confident while performing alongside Richard Tognetti, the acclaimed violinist and the artistic director of the ACO, Yamada believes this is thanks to the children’s past experience. Always the brightest stars of the show, the young talents perform annually at more than 30 events, most notably Sapporo City Jazz, one of the biggest jazz festivals in Japan. 

“Before their first show at Sapporo City Jazz, some of the younger children couldn’t sleep the night before because they were nervous about performing on such a big stage! But now they are very calm before performances,” Yamada laughs.

Mt Yotei Jazz School ACO

Started as part of a scheme to promote jazz culture to the younger generation, Niseko’s local Jazz school has helped the kids discover more than just an interest for music. “Many of the kids join the band because of an interest on playing on stage but also for the opportunity to make friends from all around the world,” Yamada says.  

Yamada recalls his fondest memories of the band was during a week-long music exchange trip with children from Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. “Seeing the kids smile as they make international friends and perform together, really made me happy that I am continuing to manage the jazz school.”

“The kids truly enjoy jazz from the bottom of their hearts, so please watch them play at least once.”

Mt Yotei Jazz School,

Come feel the groove and joy conveyed in their performance. The young and bold Mt. Youtei Jr. Jazz School will play alongside members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra in January 2019, in Niseko.

Performance Dates

Tanta-An, Grand Hirafu Mountain Center  January 23, 2019 6:00 pm Adults: ¥5,000 + Ticketing Fee | Children: ¥2,500 + Ticketing Fee Family friendly performance with variety of local and international acts with potential on stage artist collaborations.  

The Orchards January 25, 2019 6:00 pm Adults: ¥10,000 + Ticketing Fee Intimate adults only affair, held at The Orchards Niseko. The evening will commence with an indoor/outdoor cocktail and canapés reception.

Find out more about the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Niseko.

For more local stories, take a look at our Experience Niseko Winter 2018/19 Magazine