Department of Defense Education Activity

DoDEA Pacific students JAMM at Japan Jazz and Modern Music Festival

For Immediate Release — December 11, 2022 | Pacific

PACIFIC, EAST — December 11, 2022 — DoDEA Pacific recently hosted the 2022 Japan Jazz and Modern Music Festival (JAMM) Nov. 15-18 at Yokota Air Base. This year’s JAMM brought together 56 DoDEA Pacific music students from mainland Japan and Okinawa, who earned the opportunity to participate through a competitive audition process.

The week-long JAMM event offered top performing DoDEA music students the chance to learn about performing jazz and modern music. During the week, students formed Jazz Band, Garage Band, and Jazz Choir ensembles with fellow student vocalists and musicians – many of whom they’d never met. At the end of the week, each ensemble performed in a concert.

Zama Middle High School participant Daniella Reyes said she enjoyed playing and performing music with other musicians.

“Even though there are people at Zama who play instruments, it’s kind of hard to plan any practice sessions, never mind the opportunity to be able to perform for people,” Reyes said, adding she feels events like Japan JAMM are important. “It allows students from different schools to interact with each other and allows them to pursue their interests for the entirety of the event.”

Jazz and modern music are highly collaborative forms of music requiring the musicians to have musical discourse while performing. This was the first intra-Japan JAMM travel festival since the Covid pandemic began.

Nathan McCoy, DoDEA Pacific Regional Fine Arts Instructional System Specialist, said the JAMM Festival aims to provide the same experience students would receive if participating in a music festival stateside.

“While at the festival, students have an opportunity to perform a more challenging level of music in a fully-instrumented/voiced ensemble,” McCoy said. “This is significant as many of our high schools lack the student population to fill a full ensemble. The participants are able to rehearse with and learn from other professional musicians who are able to introduce new ideas, concepts, and/or perspectives while also reinforcing previous knowledge taught by the students’ local music educator. Those same skills and knowledge that students develop at this festival are able to be brought back and shared with their peers at their local school, enhancing the capacity of those programs.”

View this year’s talented JAMM participants in action: