Our mission is to foster a vibrant local jazz scene through concerts and educational programs that encourage our community to love, study, and perform live jazz.
The Willamette Jazz Society (WJS) was founded in 2002 as a non-profit organization. Our core mission at that time was to assist high school students with band camp music scholarships and to provide temporary performance space where musicians could study and perform live jazz. As community audience interest expanded and concert attendance grew, we looked for a more permanent home. To that end, we opened our first Jazz Station club in downtown Eugene in 2005.
The Jazz Station currently serves as the only jazz venue in Oregon outside of the Portland greater metropolitan area. Our club, a downtown mainstay, offers musicians, students and community members access to an intimate, neighborly, 70-seat capacity venue. Here, audiences and musicians create a synergy of the musical moment, not unlike the storied clubs where the spirit of jazz originally blossomed.
The Willamette Jazz Society (WJS) shares a longstanding relationship with the University of Oregon and Lane Community College Schools of Music. Our organizations are linked through a deep shared commitment to jazz as an essential artistic expression. Steve Owen, Jazz Station Big Band Director & UO Director of Jazz Studies, finds this symbiotic relationship indispensable. “The Jazz Station is a fantastic community resource and occupies a unique niche in the local arts scene. It’s the only place that students from UO, LCC and local high schools and middle schools can come together to collaborate and play. All-age musicians get the chance to make new musical connections and hone their talents in a real-life jazz performance setting.”
Jazz is the quintessential American musical form. It is rooted in the African-American experience and is the voice of innovation, spontaneity, inclusion, adaptability, individuality, diversity and at its very core – freedom. The WJS mission is to nurture and preserve it.
CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- John Heller, President
- Scott Fitzgibbon, Vice President
- Jim Olsen, Secretary
At Large Members
- Randall McGowen
- Don Elkington
- Erika Mittge
- Patty Sage
- Monica Piper
Director of Finance
- Eve McClure