When the Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival returns for two full days of live music in July, a Surrey-raised trumpet player will be featured as the event’s inaugural Rising Star award winner.
Julian Borkowski, a second-year music student at Capilano University, earns a $1,000 scholarship and will perform with his band at the festival on Sunday, July 28, from 2 to 3 p.m.
For its second year of music, festival organizers established the award “to recognize an outstanding jazz student who demonstrates a high level of performance ability and is pursuing a professional career in jazz music.”
Borkowski, who lives in Cloverdale and went to high school at Holy Cross in Fleetwood, said the recognition “is a great opportunity for me to expose myself musically.
“It feels so crazy, a bit surreal, to see my name next to people I have looked up to, stars like Dee Daniels and Miles Black. It’s amazing.”
For 2019, Fort Langley Jazz & Arts Festival will be held from July 26 to 28, offering free concerts on two outdoor stages with more than 25 bands, along with three nighttime concerts for ticketholders. Featured genres include straight-ahead jazz, R&B, big band, New Orleans, funk and latin jazz.
For detailed show times, band lineup and festival activities, visit fortlangleyjazzfest.com.
During a festival kickoff party and concert announcement on April 19, the Rising Star award was presented to Borkowski by Dave Quinn, artistic director of the festival, and Diane Sears, who manages the Coast Capital Savings branch in Fort Langley.
Borkowski began playing the trumpet in Grade 5, and says he really found his groove with the instrument while in high school. He has participated in the BC Music Educators Association Provincial Honour Concert Band, the Surrey Senior Rep Jazz Band, The TD Intensive Jazz Band and has volunteered for the City of Surrey playing and teaching jazz at summer camps.
Brad Turner, his trumpet instructor at Cap, called Borkowski “a highly gifted young musician, but his gifts do not get in the way of his work ethic, which is top-notch.
“His love of the jazz art form is evident every time he plays and his respect and admiration for the great players who have created and shaped the music runs deep with him and helps fuel his enthusiasm for developing his own artistic voice.”
“He is a humble young man and an excellent member of the student body, eager to participate in all aspects of the program and also providing a wonderful example for his fellow students in every way.”
In a performance at the festival kickoff event at Langley’s Bez Arts Hub, Borkowski led a band that featured Matt Franceschini on guitar, Colin Zacharias on bass and Adrian Leung on drums.
This summer, the festival headliners will include Juno Award-nominated Jodi Proznick Quartet, the 11-piece R&B All Stars, Jill Townsend Jazz Orchestra, Afro-Latin funk band Coco Jafro, Wild Blue Herons and Harpdog Brown & the Uptown Band, on two outdoor stages outside Fort Langley Community Hall.
Other performers booked for the festival include Brazilian jazz guitarist Celso Machado, New Orleans-style jazz band Hummingbird Brigade, Mike Van Eyes Big Band, VSO Jazz Faculty Band, jazz vocalist Maya Rae Band, “gypsy jazz” group Hot Club of Mars, Jen Hodge All Stars and Mardi Gras-inspired RazzMaJazz Ensemble.
“There will be something for every jazz fan,” Quinn stated. “We’ll also have pop-up performance stages around the community featuring youth and emerging talent and three amazing headliner ticketed events. It’s going to be non-stop jazz for everyone to enjoy from morning until night.”
In one of the festival’s three ticketed events, an opening-night concert, on Friday, July 26, inside Fort Langley National Historic Site, will feature an all-star blues show with MudBay Blues Band, Steve Kozak Band and others, including Wailin’ Al Walker, Harpdog Brown, Joani Bye, Lisa Dunn, Dalannah Gail Bowen, Murray Porter, James Buddy Rogers, Brandon Isaak and more.
A Tribute to Frank Sinatra big band swing dance, with Swing Aggregation and jazz vocalist Steve Maddock, will be held on Saturday, July 27 at Fort Langley Community Hall. Closing the festival, on the Sunday night, will be the award-winning gospel trio Sojourners with the 50-voice Marcus Mosley Chorale, at Chief Sepass Theatre. Tickets for these three events are available at fortlangleyjazzfest.com/tickets.
New to the festival this year is JazzFest AfterParty, to follow the All-Star Blues show on Friday, July 26 from 9 p.m. to midnight at participating Fort Langley restaurants.
“We are bringing in some of Vancouver’s best jazz musicians to play at JazzFest AfterParty for those who want to keep dancing and enjoying live jazz and blues music after dark,” Quinn noted.