Young musicians beat the drum for Doncaster

We were planning for the worst - the council’s £44,000 grant to us was to be cut completely and the trustees of the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association were looking to wind down our four bands’ activities.

So it was with some relief and gratitude that we heard that the mayor and council decided to cut our grant by only a third to £28,000 for 2011-12 (thanks Mr Davies!). There are no guarantees for the future and we are seeking support from other sources. Already Polypipe have agreed to support us for a year (thanks guys!) and others looking to see what they can do.

The last weeks have made us think about our contribution to Doncaster and why anyone should think it right to give us money.Well, we don’t cure diseases, provide food or shelter, but .....since 1973 we have developed young musicians, many of whom have gone on to find fame – and they tell others how they got their start in music.

Doncaster’s Youth Jazz Orchestras, under John Ellis’ leadership, have taken the name of Doncaster from Moscow to New York and further afield. The UK Ambassador to the United Nations wrote: “You are a credit to yourselves, your town and your country”.

Doncaster is not a cultural desert. Perhaps those involved, including us, might do a little more to promote so much good work. We are about developing young people through music. Most of our alumni are not professional musicians but their achievements, through a mix of motivation, enjoyment and musical discipline, inspire them through their lives. If you would like to know more, and maybe support our work, please contact us: johnellis@dyja.info or on 01302 320002