As many of you know, DYJA was formed in 1973 by John Ellis MBE. Since the very beginning, John’s determination, drive and passion to bring Jazz music education to young people has been unwavering. With world tours, exchanges and more accolades than you could imagine under his belt, Doncaster Youth Jazz Association and John Ellis are synonymous.
Having dedicated nearly 50 years to DYJA, its students and alumni, John has decided that now is the right time to gradually pass on the baton to new hands in order to set the footings for the successful continuation of DYJA for the years ahead.
Whilst Mr Ellis will remain significantly involved in DYJA, focussing his time directing the Stageband and introducing younger musicians to ensemble performance and Jazz education, we are pleased to announce that the operational role within the organisation will be led by Mark Sabin.
Mark started his music at the age of 8 learning Piano then moving onto Organ. At the age of 14 Mark became the resident organist at two clubs where he backed vocalists and played for dancing.
Two years later, aged 16, he successfully auditioned for a position in the Army and was accepted into The Light Infantry School of Music where he studied Clarinet and Saxophone. During his 32 year career, Mark has studied extensively in the subjects of Orchestration, Harmony and Conducting and has also performed worldwide with many acclaimed Bands and Orchestras - both as an ensemble player and leader and as a soloist. He has also been an integral part of training teams where he has had the privilege of recruiting, teaching and mentoring younger musicians within the Army and Army Reserves.
Mark has been involved with DYJA for a number of years and more recently has been the Musical Director of Doncaster Youth Swing Orchestra. Having seen first-hand the opportunities that DYJA has to offer, he is passionate about ensuring the next generation of musicians can continue to access these fantastic experiences. Mark will also continue in his role as MD of Swing Orchestra.
With a collaborative approach between John Ellis and Mark Sabin, supported by Lauren Mears and working collectively with Stuart Garside as Musical Director of DYJO, all of the Band Managers and of course our dedicated teachers, we are looking forward to what the future will bring with this enthusiastic team in place to ensure DYJA charts continued success for a many years to come!