Renowned musical organisation Jazz Association (Singapore) – or simply JASS – is set to deliver a message of hope and resilience in its annual gala performance.

The annual JASS Benefit Gala will be held at the Island Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel on Saturday, 2 September 2023. Headlining the event are internationally acclaimed jazz singer Roberta Gambarini, and JASS music director and Cultural Medallion recipient Jeremy Monteiro.

With this year’s theme, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, music lovers can expect a line-up of classic and contemporary jazz, including I Hadn’t Anyone but You by Ray Noble, On The Sunny Side of the Street by Jimmy McHugh, and, of course, Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harold Arlen.

Roberta sees ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ as a message of hope and resilience through music. “We have selected songs that are uplifting and celebrate the joy of life, music and friendship. I was inspired in these choices by the thought that jazz is a universal force with the power to unite people beyond boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, and religion.”

Roberta’s special appearance was arranged by Jeremy with whom she has worked a number of times, including the Singapore Arts Festival as Jeremy’s special guest. When Jeremy invited her again for this year’s gala, following the approval from the Gala Chairperson, Susan Peh, and the Gala Committee, the two-time Grammy-nominated artist readily agreed.

A Wonderful Organisation

“I first heard about the Jazz Association (Singapore) (JASS) years ago, through my friend and amazing pianist, Jeremy Monteiro,” Roberta shares with Solitaire. “I had the pleasure of meeting him through my mentor, the legendary jazz saxophonist, James Moody.” JASS is a charity registered in Singapore.

Calling JASS “a wonderful organisation”, Roberta adds that she “was impressed by the impeccable way it is run, the competence and dedication of all of its members, and the attention to detail in planning musical events”. Through JASS, she also met other members of the association, including the singer Melissa Tham, whose competence and passion left a strong impression on her.

“I got involved in this event upon invitation by Maestro Jeremy Monteiro, and I feel excited and grateful at the opportunity to perform at the Benefit Gala, with a big band that includes major talents in jazz.”

Besides performing at the Gala, Roberta is very excited about teaching masterclasses and meeting young musicians in Singapore. “The music that I will be performing at the Gala is set,” she reveals. “It will be a program filled with great arrangements of classic jazz standards, with a few surprises.”

Level of Excellence

The Jazz Association (Singapore) (JASS) was formed to help lift the level of excellence of jazz in Singapore, according to Jeremy. Alongside this, the organisation hopes to grow the audience for jazz music and work strongly to engage the youth who are interested in this musical form. “Our ultimate goal, as expressed by our patron, Prof Tommy Koh, is to make Singapore a leading city of jazz,” Jeremy adds.

JASS orchestras have performed all over the world, including the prestigious EFG London Jazz Festival in 2014, which was among its biggest accomplishments to date. An Institution of a Public Character (IPC), JASS has also sent nine scholars to study jazz in local and foreign universities and colleges.

This year, JASS received the Covid-19 resilience certificate from the government in recognition of its public service.

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