Oakland Jazz Choir

OUR STORY

Mission Statement

The Oakland Jazz Choir, a unique, dynamic, multi-cultural ensemble, is dedicated to the education, preservation and perpetuation of vocal jazz, and is committed to bringing together professional and community members alike.

Who We Are

The Oakland Jazz Choir got its start in 1992 as an offshoot of its namesake city’s other popular choral group – the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. In the 30 years that ensued, the choir experienced a wonderful evolution that took it from a 50-voice community choir to a 16-20-voice semi-professional community choir. During this time several very talented musical directors have left their distinctive musical mark on OJC’s unique repertoire.

As one of only a few community jazz choirs in the country, in rehearsal, in performance and in its outreach each member demonstrates dedication and strives for musical excellence. A blending of hearts and voices can have so much power. These voices unite to share in their common love of jazz and to help promote the art form in new ways while respecting its cultural roots.

WHERE WE'VE BEEN

Since its inception in 1992, OJC has collaborated with notable jazz, blues and gospel artists including Mark Murphy, Marlena Shaw, Madeline Eastman, Faye Carol, Brenda Boykin, Terrence Kelly and Kenny Washington. Venues have included Yoshi’s, the International Association of Jazz Educators convention, The Sound Room, The Great American Music Hall, the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, The White Barn, the JazzSchool, the Livermore Public Library and the Grass Valley Center for the Arts. The choir has performed at numerous jazz festivals including SF Summer Jazz Series, the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Sonoma Jazz Festival, the Vallejo Jazz Festival, the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival and the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival. OJC also brings jazz into the Oakland public schools during Black History Month and Jazz Appreciation Month. Through the Bread and Roses Organization, OJC has brought its musical inspiration to those incarcerated in local jails and prisons, homeless shelters, and senior centers.

HOW WE DO IT

OJC is funded mainly through its performances, grants and individual donations. Those dollars fund day-to-day operations, artistic and professional fees. But what keeps OJC’s collective heart beating most of all is the love of Jazz and our knowledge that music can heal our collective hearts during the most difficult of times.