We are very excited to announce a change in direction for JMA and the beginning of a new initiative for the Academy.
But first, a little history…
It’s been a tumultuous two years, with many tertiary students studying online and music programmes disrupted in so many ways across the country. At JMA we’ve been luckier than many, with most of our students being able to complete their degrees in person at our Mount Gambier campus. But even so, the closing of borders and restrictions on movement have challenged students and faculty at every turn.
Of course, large universities have borne similar burdens and our partner, University of South Australia, is no exception. With the cessation of new intakes, JMA has spent this year completing the programmes of our current students - and now we come to a crossroads at the end of 2021.
The circumstances in which we find ourselves have led to a decision to cease operations in our present form – that is, to leave the tertiary sector and substantially close the campus at the Old Town Hall. It’s been seven wonderful years and many, many students have experienced jazz education in a way that we’ve been honoured to share. The chance to bring world class faculty to regional South Australia and further cement Mount Gambier’s reputation as a centre for jazz has been a privilege and we can’t thank our supporters enough.
The local community, philanthropists, the City of Mount Gambier, the State Government, local businesses and our amazing staff and faculty have given so generously to support the work of JMA and I can only say humbly, thank you. They have all contributed in a way that will benefit so many young people for the rest of their lives.
So…what’s next for JMA?
My life-long friend and mentor Don Burrows spent much of his career teaching, and in particular, he had a passion for bringing music to the disadvantaged. This was sometimes children in remote areas, sometimes those with socio-economic challenges, sometimes children in indigenous communities – basically anyone who didn’t have the access to musical experiences enjoyed by so many fortunate students. We intend to continue that legacy of Don’s in every way we can.
JMA will now operate as more of a ‘pop up’ academy, working as an outreach organisation taking music to wherever it is needed and inspiring young people who may not otherwise get an opportunity to hear, play and learn about music – and particularly jazz. There will be no geographic limitations to this work, it may be a week in the outback, it may be a day in the inner city, and it may be on the other side of the world. Our base of operations will still be Mount Gambier and we’ll be taking that name wherever we go. We also plan to bring young musicians to the Mount for special events and further the building of Gambier’s reputation as a centre for jazz.
On November 11 we held our valediction and end of year concert at the Wehl Street Theatre. This saw our final cohort complete their degrees and receive awards for achievements over the past year.
We're thrilled to announce that the recipient of the award for Academic Excellence was John Bennett and the recipient of the award for Excellence in Performance was Oliver Shute. Ollie and John were both on the wrong side of the border (stuck in Victoria) but joined us online and will be receiving their awards as soon as we can meet up and deliver them personally.
Ollie will be receiving an ORIS JMA Swiss Watch, especially created by ORIS for the Academy and hopefully something he will have for the rest of his life as a reminder of his time at JMA.
Why in Mount Gambier?
Find out why James has chosen Mount Gambier as the home of the JMA.
Tel: +61 8 8725 9027
The Old Town Hall
6 Commercial Street
Mount Gambier SA 5290
PO BOX 175
Mount Gambier, SA 5290