A new Brecon Jazz gallery exhibition has opened this Summer at Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon, supported by NPTC Group of Colleges. The exhibition showcases forty years of Brecon Jazz Festival posters in time for this August’s programme. Helping to open the gallery were Level 3 Business Studies learners from Brecon Beacons College, whose Festival poster designs were also on display from this year’s coursework. The gallery is free to visit on the top floor of Theatr Brycheiniog for all of this July and August.

Only last month, the Level 3 learners had united with Neath College’s Jazz Ensemble to organise a musical and visual taster day outside The CWTCH, the College’s Community Hub. As part of their coursework, the learners had to manage and promote an event, which included drafting and designing the posters publicising this, which are now on display in the theatre. The winning poster which promoted the taster day was the red one (pictured lower middle) as chosen by the class themselves and Brecon Jazz Club.

Business Tutor at Brecon Beacons College, Romina West, said the gallery was: “A great display of the hard work our students have put into their coursework with the Jazz project this year. Opening the gallery was a fun way for some of our learners to end this College year and see how the Festival has changed over time. I’m very proud of all their work and achievements so far and am grateful to Brecon Jazz Club for making this gallery exhibition in the Theatr a reality.”

As well as the Business learners, the gallery was opened by members of Brecon Jazz Club with guest visitors Richard Walters from the Brecon Show, and Cardiff-based jazz vocalist, composer and university lecturer, Dionne Bennett.

Dionne was invited also to attend a College-Festival meeting, to explore and build more connections with the two organisations. The Jazz team are looking at ideas to connect jazz music and the creative arts more generally, through the College and Dionne’s network, with a younger and more diverse audience than before.

On the possibility of inspiring more young people to get involved in the Jazz Festival and the arts, Dionne said: “I’m really excited to join forces with the College through the Jazz Festival project and to increase diversity, inclusion and bring a younger element to the Festival. Kids today are listening to and playing jazz music, and don’t know the background or even that what they’re playing is jazz! I’m looking to see this great festival rejuvenated and open up the jazz genre.”

Brecon Jazz Club commented: “Our lead artist for the Festival (saxophonist star Emma Rawicz) taking the Saturday night headline stage is just 21 years old. We also have a culturally very diverse lineup again on offer – but we’d like to see a younger and more diverse audience getting engaged in Brecon Jazz for its 40th year too! So we’re delighted to reveal that three of this year’s College group will be continuing with us on small ‘freelance’ working contracts, helping with the Festival work. The collaborations are thus having a tangible impact already and there is a lot more we can all do and achieve through co-operation.”

Christine Davies, Director of Programme Innovation at NPTC Group of Colleges, said that the Jazz Club team have been “a driving force in the involvement of the College,” and she welcomed Dionne, and her colleague Guto, to the CWTCH, Brecon Beacons College. On behalf of the College Group, Christine said they looked forward to continuing work with all parties next term.