Let’s Get To It: All Things Danderfer


Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!

Readers, my goodness, it’s been a while. You’ve been busy, I’ve been busy, but who cares!? Bottom line is, you want to know what’s happening in Dander-land. I get it.

So no more dawdling with half finished complain-y pants SMNPs, let’s just get down to brass tacks.

First off, I’m still a winner. I just can’t stop winning. I’m like the LeBron James of jazz clarinetists: addicted to winning. Recently my film-making dream team, made up of writer/co-producer Shauna Johannesen, director Matthew Kowalchuk, producer Sean Tyson and yours truly (co-producer, composer) won the Crazy 8s Film Society short film competition with BEDBUGS: A Musical Love Story (pictured above). Actually, we were one of six winning teams who received the resources, connections and training to make our movie ideas come to life.

Now, to toot my own horn a little more; this movie was extra special to me because the original idea behind this movie, the 1st seed from which sprang forth a winning-film… was all mine. That’s right, I lived BEDBUGS: A Musical Love Story several years ago in Montreal when the young woman I had sublet to for the Summer left me a welcome home present. I suffered the traumatizing nuisance that is a bed bug infestation. Years later, I regained my sense of humour and TA-DA! Another winning idea brought to you by James Danderfer.

Of course, a story idea is only a story idea until you have an actual writer come along, develop the idea into something worth watching and then, well… write it. Thankfully, I had one of the best writers in the business Shauna Johannesen close by and willing to make it happen. Plus, it turns out we work pretty well together. Thanks honey Shauna!

I can’t say enough great things about this society, lead by Paul Armstrong and Ines Eisses, but for now I’ll just say a big, upper case THANK YOU to the Crazy 8s for the opportunity to have this wonderful film consume my life for the better part of 4 months… it was fantastic!

HOW CAN YOU SEE THIS FILM!? If you missed the sold-out screening at The Centre for the Performing Arts then you’ll have to wait. I can’t post it now because we’re sending it out to film festivals across the land but I’ll keep you posted and get some sort of movie trailer up for you to watch soon. Stay tuned.

Next up, I’M STILL TEACHING AT THE VSO School of Music and this bares repeating because I STILL ONLY HAVE 1 STUDENT!

People! There’s so much more Danderfer to go around than that. So tell your friends, tell your enemies because I’m there, ready, and really enjoying it.

Besides the 1 private student, I coach two jazz combos at the school and that’s been a delightful experience. I only hope that my students don’t take it the wrong way when I laugh at them, because I laugh at them a lot. What can I say? People who don’t know things that I know make me laugh. But seriously… we all have a good time there and the more I do it, the clearer my approach to teaching jazz becomes. More on that later. But for now, let me just say once more that I’M STILL TEACHING AT THE VSO SCHOOL, I LIKE IT, IT’S A GREAT FACILITY AND I’M ACCEPTING MORE STUDENTS. So talk to me, we’ll make it happen.

What else? I’ve had the pleasure of becoming a new board member for the Fraser MacPherson Jazz Fund, a fund dedicated to offering financial assistance and educational opportunities for jazz students in British Columbia. In addition to providing several yearly scholarships to BC’s most promising young jazz instrumentalists, the FMJF hosts public, free admission workshops by some of the world’s most renown jazz artists.

Canadian jazz legend Fraser MacPherson was an early inspiration to me and one of the reasons I got into music in the first place; so it has been an honour to help out on the board with director (and composer/arranger extraordinaire) Fred Stride. Quite frankly, my contributions to the FMJF thus far have been innumerable. Let’s see, I built the FMJF web site, started the FMJF twitter account, started the FMJF facebook page, AND, I… em

Okay, so maybe it’s numerable; I did 3 things. But what wonderful things they were.

Also, it just so happens that I was the very 1st Fraser MacPherson scholarship winner almost 20 years ago (they wanted to get things started on the right foot), making it all the more special to give something back after so many years.

What else? Oh yeah, I’m writing the score for a feature length animated film! NBD!

At this point, I can’t tell you any more than that. But I’m extremely excited about this movie and hopefully I will have more to tell you soon.

Finally, Dander-performances: I’m pleased to say you can catch me and my trio playing EVERY SATURDAY @ UVA Wine Bar (Seymour & Smithe) from 9-12 and there’s NO COVER. Bar Manager and creator of Bittered Sling Lauren Mote has welcomed our New Orleans inspired grooves into her establishment with open arms and it’s been A BLAST. I’m not kidding. I’m playing my metal clarinet, I’m singing, I’m even tambourine-ing… it’s a party every Saturday, so please come and join us!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get practicing. Thanks for reading and have a great week! jd