There are major changes afoot this week at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. The running of the orchestra has been taken over since Monday by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton, newly-appointed as Executive Director. Mark Armstrong is responsible for the musical direction, working with a committee. Bill Ashton has become "Founder MD and Life President." And, hey, the week isn't over yet.
Mark Armstrong has been associated with NYJO as a player and assisting Bill Ashton for virtually 20 years. Fiona Ord-Shrimpton has a successful background in various kinds of fundraising. She tells me she has been a jazz fan for as long as she can remember. And has also been for many years an active supporter of the team at the Glasgow Jazz Festival.
The orchestra is going through a transition, which Chairman Nigel Tully describes as "transforming what until now has been an individually inspired organisation into a truly national educational institution."
Tully launched a "Chairs Appeal " a few months ago, targeting individuals or organisations who would sponsor a chair. These efforts have been met with success: most chairs have gone. Roland UK was announced as one of the sponsors. Tully has also found several other substantial donations and offers. There are no more than few chairs unclaimed. The Board of NYJO has also had support with its transition from an active and capable board, and from Jazz Services.
NYJO has just taken on a tiny office in Vigo Street, W1. To sponsor one of those remaining chairs or to point NYJO in the direction of someone who will - or just to congratulate NYJO's new Executive Director on her appointment and wish her good luck....email fiona (at) nyjo.org.uk .