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Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra (WJO) is Canada’s first community-based, non-profit professional jazz orchestra; its equal can be found in only a handful of North American cities. Dr. Richard Gillis and Sasha Boychouk founded the WJO in 1997, inspired by a vision of forming a professional big band with the best emerging and veteran musicians in Winnipeg.
Gillis and Boychouk were the right people at the right time, but the WJO also owes its roots to the collective efforts of many passionate stakeholders including the musicians, board members, volunteers and administrators who sensed a potential audience that was not being served. Their familiarity with the Winnipeg music environment (the key players, the marketplace, and the community’s appetite for jazz) gave them confidence in the capabilities of local musicians and out of that natural savvy and inherent enthusiasm, the WJO was born.
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