Thursday, November 8, 2012

Community Spotlight: Surprise Community Garden opens with great turnout, hope for a great future

By Matt Marn

Over four years of sweat, funding, and hard work from people all across the community has finally begun to bloom for everyone to see. And what a sight it is.

Michelle Dionisio, President and CEO of Benevilla, took the stage to welcome visitors and volunteers to the grand opening of the Surprise Community Garden Friday evening, October 26.

She told the crowd the garden had been a joint project of Benevilla’s, together with the city of Surprise and Rio Salado College. The main goal, Dionisio said, would be to bring generations together, and to do good work in the community.

The Surprise Community Garden is located in the city of Surprise at Lizard Run Park, next to Benevilla’s main campus. It will serve as an important space for area residents, young students and organizations to learn about growing food in a harsh desert environment. The garden will also provide an opportunity to grow fresh produce to help battle hunger in the community.

The garden will hold 37 beds of soil. While some have yet to be built, many more are ready and available for adoption or donation. Each bed has a dedicated water line and specially blended soil. You can also lease a bed, or use a smaller vine circle to flex your green thumb.

No matter how you plan to use the Surprise Community Garden, rest assured you will meet wonderful people, have a great support system of other gardeners, and help this project bring people in the community together from all generations.

Keva Womble, the Philanthropy Project Manager of the Arizona Community Foundation, told the audience her organization was proud to be partnered with Benevilla in this “Community for All Ages” Initiative,” so together, they can help communities grow better able to address critical issues and promote well-being for every generation.

The event welcomed to the stage representatives from the city of Surprise, Rio Salado College, and other groups who worked hard to make this event and garden possible. One such woman was Cherie Czaplicki, Chair of the Surprise Community Garden, and herself a Master Gardener.

“I have to day, tonight makes my heart sing,” Czaplicki said. “I have met with these people for three years, and I’ve never seen a warmer or more knowledgeable group of folks, right here in my own community.”

She said she felt at home around Benevilla and its devoted volunteers, many of whom also worked for years on this garden.

“I love working with volunteers,” Czaplicki said. “I’ve been a Master Gardener for almost 20 years, and I’ve learned how wonderful volunteers can be in the community. It’s kind of telling when I walked into the conference room in Benevilla, and I see my mantra on their wall, the words of Margaret Mead: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”

Dionisio and the volunteers who worked so hard on the garden also made sure to recognize the members of the local business community that donated materials and manpower to help turn the garden from an idea to the reality the crowd came to celebrate.

“Everything – literally everything you see in this garden has been donated,” said Bill Grigg, a Community Garden volunteer. “We have a lot of volunteers – and remember, this is a community of all ages. Community means everyone. The business community also stepped up in a big way to make the garden a reality and bring it to life.”

Finally, Dionisio took a moment to recognize a special young man who also helped in getting the garden where it is now. She brought up Anthony Sarabia, an Eagle Scout who made his work in the garden his Eagle Scout project.

He built and installed the garden’s vine circles – smaller plots of land also available for lighter gardening. While he was given the designs by another volunteer, Sarabia built the vine circles himself.

“They are beautifully done, and they’ll be there for a very long time,” Dionisio said. “I will say, he’s a very talented artist, and he sold his photography work to raise the money for the materials he needed.”

After the ceremony, Richard Sarabia, Scout Leader and father of Eagle Scout Anthony, expressed how impressed he was by his son, and how much this project helped him grow as a young man.

“We got an email on a possible Eagle Scout project, and my son responded,” he said. “He raised the funds, built the vine circles, and brought in volunteers to help install them. I didn’t know how much my son would have to come out of his shell to accomplish this job. And the rest of the troop… It was a lot of hard work, it was character building.”

Scout Leader Sarabia would certainly like to stay involved with the garden, and the concept is something he really appreciates.

“I mean, there are 22 beds left to fill, and the boys have the muscle,” he said with a smile. “Moving dirt is their specialty now.”

The garden is already in good hands, with many plots already in use by skilled and devoted gardeners. Curt Wegmann was the first owner of a plot, and with over 50 years of gardening experience, his plot is already full and beautiful, drawing a crowd.

“All the work that went into this was incredible,” Wegmann said. “Two months ago, there was nothing here. Now I come out here every other day; to take care of it, water it, fertilize it… It’s not work. It’s just such a pleasure. Life is too short, enjoy it. Make the most of it.”

On the other end of the garden from the experienced gardener Curt is a troop of Girl Scouts, none of whom have ever had gardens – and who are very excited now that the plants are starting to sprout.

Lisa Miller, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 902, said the Silver Award is the highest award that can be earned by a Girl Scout Cadet.

“For the Silver Award, you need 50 hours of community service, and it has to serve a need in the community. They saw a need, and they decided to grow food in the garden to donate to a local food bank.”

Miller said the 12 girls in the troop have been working on their garden bed – and the garden itself – from the ground level.

“’The Community for All Ages’ really is for all ages,” she said. “There are all types of age ranges. They’ve had a lot of help from the people who know what they’re doing. It helps to have gardeners who know what to grow in Arizona.”

Miller’s daughter and troop member, Madison, really enjoys working on the garden with her troop.

“We go to the meetings, and get great pointers on what to do and how to grow,” Madison said. “It’s a chance for extra community service, and this troop is all about community service. I think the best part is being with fellow Girl Scouts, and knowing the vegetables will be in good hands when we donate them to the food bank.”

Dionisio was also pleased with the turnout for the grand opening.

“When you bring a community together, everyone brings their own skills and talents, and it can turn into something great,” she said.

So far, the goal of creating a community garden for all ages appears to be off to a great start. Stop by Benevilla’s main campus and see it yourself, or if you are interested in starting your own plot in the garden, or helping with the volunteer work, contact Vicki White at (623) 584-4999 or Cherie Czaplicki at (623) 910-5239.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Valley musician overcomes trauma, uses talents to inspire others

By Matt Marn
Bob Iriana has always been a passionate musician, from when he was seven and first picked up a saxophone to graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston.  But today, his love for music and performing is more than a passion – music helped him survive a trauma that changed his life forever.

What’s more, he uses his talents to help others going through the same.

Music Right from the Start

Iriana said music has always been a part of his life. He said he started playing saxophone at seven, since he was lucky enough to live in a town with a decent music program. He started playing on the alto sax, but later they switched him to tenor sax.

“I was a big kid, and they thought tenor may be better for me,” he said with a smile.

As the years went on, music remained a strong passion. He has learned to play on four types of saxophone, including the alto and tenor, clarinet, flute, and various other wind instruments from cultures and regions around the world. And his love for music only continued skyward.

“I’ve always played in bands as a teenager, through my whole life,” he said. “But out of college, I got cancer, so I thought I’d better have a day career – one with health insurance – and I could play at night. I didn’t want to travel the country, I didn’t do it for the money; it’s about playing the music. That’s why I go to all these jam sessions in the area, and I can play with different people in different genres… It’s just so much fun.”

All the while, Iriana has also carried both the burden and blessing of a condition known as synesthesia. Synesthesia is defined as a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated.” In Iriana’s case, when he hears sounds, he also sees colors (and vise versa), which varies in color and intensity based on the frequency of the sound.

“I’ve always had an association with sounds and colors,” he said. “It always got stronger with music.”
Iriana didn’t know anyone else that had synesthesia until I went to Berklee, where he met five.

“It’s actually more common in the musical community. It’s not the same between any two of us. For me, lower notes on the scale appear as violets and blues. Middle notes appear as yellows and greens, upper notes are orange and red. Some people I’ve met, these colors are exactly reversed. There are always variances between us.”

Iriana said the condition is difficult to explain to others, and the fact that it is an ever-changing condition doesn’t help. He also said not only does he see different colors based on the notes, but those same notes can also manifest as different colors or shades, based on the instrument.

A Life-Changing Trauma

But the music came to a sudden stop in January 2008, when Iriana suffered a severe stroke, leaving the entire left half of his body paralyzed. Over the next few years, he was forced to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat – re-learn to do everything we now take for granted. He had to start over.
“For the first year, I couldn’t play at all,” Iriana said. “I barely tried. For the first few months, I had trouble even eating, walking, and basics like that. Later, I could barely play; I couldn’t blow, couldn’t hold air in my left cheek. When I told my left side to hold a note, the wrong finger went down.”

He said once he started practicing again, he knew the basic notes, but had to re-learn the rest. He hears the sounds, but still has trouble controlling his left hand.

Even today, the stroke continues to have a strong impact on his daily life.

“A lot of what I used to do, I can’t do anymore,” Iriana said. “I battle mental fatigue… My day consists of alternating activity periods and rest periods. My brain gets tired, and then my left side is affected. The longer I stay active, I have to rest or sleep that much longer. I try and manage this, but I’ve done stupid stuff before, I have overdone it and wound up in the ER.”

Iriana said he feels like he can play at about 25 percent of what he could before.

 “The frustration you go through with a stroke… it changes a lot of things,” he said. “You have to re-learn things a new way, or just avoid some things entirely.

Iriana estimated he only gains about five minutes per year of extra energy. The first year after his stroke, he only had about 15 minutes of energy before he grew too fatigued. The year after that, his energy grew to 30 minutes, then 45 the third year. While he used to play for four, even eight straight hours, now he can only practice for around 30 minutes at a time.

“Under ideal conditions, no distractions, I can stay focused and alert for about an hour,” he said. “When I get up, I have to plan out my day. For every hour I am active during the day, I usually need about three hours of rest. I have to plan my life around this problem of mental fatigue. It can get really frustrating.”

Iriana remembered earlier in his adult life, when he was always active, he used to work 10 or 12 hours straight, then sit in with a band as they performed that night.

“Now, I have to schedule everything out. That’s the dilemma I face; I have things I’d like to do, that would make me happy, but I’m going to pay for it. As with all things in life, I have to find a balance.”

Another thing he learned from the stroke was to learn to adapt, to work with what you have. Whether it’s using the instrument a musician has instead of complaining and wishing for a better one, or his inability to go long periods of time playing without taking rest breaks, Iriana learned to make the best of what he has been given.

Iriana’s synesthesia was also affected. It disappeared for a few years after the stroke. That was when the weight of the stroke truly took its toll, and Iriana fell into depression. After a few years, the synesthesia returned, though different – not as sharp as before.

“For me, I’ve always had the advantage of the colors,” Iriana said. “I’ve lost some of that, but I’m still working on getting it back. Sometimes, re-associating music with colors is like re-learning the sax. I can get overwhelmed.”

Iriana said just taking it step by step, but never giving up, helped him recover from the stroke.

“Unfortunately, some stroke survivors just sit there and watch TV,” he said. “And they wonder why they don’t get better. They need to do something, to learn something. When they tried to get me to walk again, they told me to just put one foot in front of the other. Or when they tried to help me speak: just say one word. Then say two. Repetition was the key.”

Iriana is making progress to this day. There are things he can do this month he couldn’t do before.

“Dealing with this in the early stages after the stroke, I didn’t handle it so well,” he said. “That’s why I was also diagnosed with depression. But they taught me not to sweat the small stuff. The biggest thing that bothers me is the unreliability. I want to do something, but then I’m too worn out, and I miss a jam, or two, or all of them this week. It’s frustrating.”

Inspiring Others by Inspiring Yourself

Iriana occasionally reminds himself of other examples of similar adversity. Iriana said he admires Melody Gardot, who was hit by a car on her bicycle, and was paralyzed and suffered brain damage. Music began to play a large part in her recovery, and soon she began to learn to play guitar and write her own songs.

Today, she is a Grammy Award winner.

“She’s like an inspiration to me,” Iriana said of Gardot. “She had right side brain damage, like me, so she couldn’t move her left side. And like me, she is hypersensitive to sound, but unlike me, she is also light sensitive. She has to wear sunglasses all the time. When I have down days, I just go listen to her stuff.”

Iriana is also an example of perseverance to others in his situation. He has begun visiting clinics in his area and performing for their recovery groups, often for others who have suffered brain trauma.

“I have learned I’m good at helping people,” he said. “I also like to play for others recovering.  Again, I’d love to do more, but some places are out of safe driving range. I’ve played at a stroke recovery center or group, veterans with war injuries, or motorcycle accidents.”

He likes to do this for support groups of brain trauma patients, as he knows what they’ve been through.

“There’s always that fear if I’ll never be able to do what I used to,” Iriana said. “I know what it feels like to be really down. And, I know the secret to not feel down: just take the first step. Then the second. I know, you can’t help everyone, but I’ve met some people who hadn’t, who were afraid to take the first steps, then they started to help themselves. When I met them, some were in a wheelchair. Now, they are walking. Helping people helps me.”

Mixed Media

Another way Iriana helps others is utilizing his synesthesia to enhance the work of local artists. He has collaborated with numerous artists in the community, playing his music along with the artwork, relaying to others what sounds the pieces trigger in his mind. He has played these complimentary music scores at exhibitions and releases of the artist’s work, always with impressive feedback.

Iriana often writes the piece inspired by the art in advance, but leaves plenty of room in the beginning and end open for improvisation. Because improvisation, he said, is one of the best parts of music.

“Once improvising gets into your bloodstream, it becomes something you’ll always want to do,” he said. “Talk about addictive… It’s a form of discovery. With composing, you have the luxury of going back and making changes. But with improvisation, you don’t. If your music was good, that’s good. If not, that’s still good… you can learn from it.”

Iriana said he loves to do this type of project to help other artists he can identify with. In fact, he said he’d love to someday work on an even bigger project for an art piece. His dream would be to start with a piece of music he had written for the artwork, then take that music and create a light show in the room to help others see what he sees, to help them get that same feeling when he hears music.

“I’d love to do more, but I only have so much energy, so I have to divvy it up,” he said. “It would take some pretty advanced lighting systems triggered by different frequencies. I don’t have that experience, not to mention the mental energy that would require.”

Advice to Live and to Play By

Bob Iriana doesn’t think of himself as an inspiration; he just plays music for love of playing music.

In addition to learning to adapt to what situation you have been dealt, he also urges musicians to always push themselves to improve, to raise the bar. That’s the only way you learn, he said.

“No matter where you’re at in your development as a musician, you always have to push yourself,” Iriana said. “Never make it a competition. In fact, always play with people who are ‘better than you.’ That’s how you grow and learn. At some point, those players had someone help them the same way.”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

“Tuesday Bluesday 2.0:” The Blues can smile once more

Popular blues jam reopens at new venue as fans look forward to bright future

By Matt Marn

When the Glendale blues jam known as “Tuesday Bluesday” ended along with the closing of its home venue, Next Coffee Company, they went out on a high note, with a packed house – the largest turnout of the event’s history. It was a bittersweet night for all, as everyone gave their best performances onstage, unsure what the future would bring for both Tuesday Bluesday and for the group of regulars who support it.

 But the following week, “Tuesday Bluesday 2.0” opened at Zendejas Grill, right next door to their former coffee shop. Without missing a beat, the group had found a new home.

Tuesday Bluesday organizer and band leader Tom Mein breaks out his familiar guitars, takes the stage with his usual band mates, bass guitarist Rich Alfano and drummer “Rumblin’” John Rumbaugh, and begins their set with their favorite blues medley. As cheers grow louder from the audience, he welcomes the crowd, “Welcome to Tuesday Bluesday 2.0!”

Mein explains to the crowd how grateful he and the band are to have Zendejas as their new venue to continue this event. He said, as he always does, how important it is to continue to support live music, particularly on the west side of the valley, where local talent can have a place to perform and grow.

After the band’s intro blues set,  Mein starts moving through the list of performers in the crowd who wanted to step onto this new stage and jam with other local performers. The night featured a variety of blues, jazz, funk and even some country, as Tuesday Bluesday is admired as featuring a variety of genres for all tastes to share and enjoy.

“One thing I have noticed in the past year, there’s been an explosion of all sorts of jam sessions around here,” said Mein later. “But we have one of the best varieties. That’s our niche; we’re the most varied jam session. I don’t want to be just a blues or a jazz jam, I like mixing it up. I hope it stays that way.”

One of the performers to take to the stage was Blair Robertson, a guitarist and longtime blues admirer.

“I thought the whole night was phenomenal,” said Robertson. “I’m amazed at the amount of talent. It’s great we found a new place, and so quickly. Tom deserves a lot of credit. When something goes really well, you’re under pressure to keep that up, and Tom’s doing a phenomenal job.”

Robertson said the only problem is Tuesday Bluesday hasn’t grown, it has exploded.

“I see that as a good thing, since it brings better and better talent,” he said. “Tom just has the problem of getting everyone that wants to play onstage.”

That difficulty of organizing and ensuring everyone makes it onstage is the greatest stress for Mein.

“It can get hectic, scheduling everyone,” Mein said. “A lot of players drive a long way, and if they don’t get to play, they leave. That’s the last thing I want.”

Mein said he is very pleased with Zendejas Grill, and is sure it is a move in the right direction.

“Next was nice, but there’s good food here, a family atmosphere, everything we could want,” he said. “Here at Zendejas there’s more space, nicer seating, and they stay open later than 9 p.m. We always got to the end of the night at Next, and had to cram everyone in. This will help getting everyone onstage.”

Robertson celebrated the new venue’s opening night by performing the favorite “Honky Tonk Woman.” He said later this was a new song for him, a song he has wanted to perform since high school.

“This kind of event inspires you to learn a new song,” he said. “The beautiful thing is, I screwed up, but when you play with so many other musicians, they can help cover you, and together, you all sound great. It encourages people to come up and try new things.”

Regular Tuesday Bluesday supporters Jim and Paula Cowley didn’t expect the amount of talent they started seeing on a regular basis when they started attending the jam, and were also impressed with the great job Mein does every week organizing the jam.

“I didn’t expect this,” said Paula Cowley. “It grew from a little Tuesday night coffee shop to something much bigger. Tom is one of the better players I’ve ever seen. I was also surprised at how friendly everyone was. They are so supportive of young people or all the first timers. It’s a great group of people that go do it.”

Cowley said she is certain the jam will only get bigger from here, and the new venue will help them grow their reputation further.

“Everyone was starting to notice the crowds we were drawing in at Next,” she said. “I think Tuesday Bluesday will keep growing.”

House bass guitarist Rich Alfano agrees this is a good move for the Tuesday Bluesday group, and everything he’s heard from regulars suggests this was surely an upgrade.

“We’ve retained our core of regular jammers, and seem to be adding new faces all the time,” Alfano said. “The best part for me is working with talented players like Tom and John every week, and being a continuing student of the art of music, the variety of material we run through… Country, jazz, blues, funk, there’s always something different being offered.”

Mein said he has a great time performing at and leading Tuesday Bluesday, and said it is the most fun gig of his busy week. He also enjoys seeing new players come up and perform along with the group.

“That’s part of the great thing,” he said. “It’s not just about playing with others; I really enjoy giving people an opportunity to play onstage, and watch them grow better and better. After all, one gig is worth ten rehearsals. Once you play onstage, that experience multiplies your growth. And everyone is welcome at Tuesday Bluesday.”

Tuesday Bluesday begins every Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Zendejas Grill, 19420 N 59th Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85308

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jivemind Cooperative Music Labs features Glendale Jazz Jam, outlets and opportunities for musicians

By Matt Marn

The organizers behind two of Glendale’s best kept secrets are ready to share.

People from all over the valley, musicians and supporters alike, gather in the lounge of Jivemind Cooperative Music Labs to enjoy the Downtown Glendale Jazz Jam. Performers of all ages and skill levels, from seasoned professionals to a grade-school student with a ukulele, take to the stage with their guitars, drumsticks, and voices every Thursday night to share their talents and have fun in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

But there is more at work in this building than the Jazz Jam, and whether you are a passionate musician, or you just want to try a new hobby, Jivemind Music Labs may become your second home.

Getting the Jazz Jam started

The Downtown Glendale Jazz Jam, which meets at 7:30 every Thursday evening, got its big break when the organizer, Elizabeth Doré, was offered a booth at Glendale’s annual Jazz and Blues Festival through a music organization of which she is a board member, Jazz in AZ.

“We have been after a space to perform for 2 years,” Doré said. “I was working with Glendale, and they gave Jazz in AZ a booth 3 years ago. I met Gabriel Bey, the founder of AZ Culture, and told him we were looking for a venue. When he heard about Jivemind this year, he told the founders about us.”

Doré said she hires a new professional jazz band every month to facilitate the Jazz Jam, and people from all over the community are welcome to play. She said the arrangement with Jivemind is great, since the Jazz Jam satisfies Jivemind’s needs through the city, and it also gives Glendale nightlife business. Doré’s business, ABD Antique appraisers, is the sole sponsor of the event so far, but she hopes to get support from more organizations as the event grows in size and reputation.

“It’s a dream come true, holding a jazz performance in downtown Glendale,” Doré said. “There are so many people on the west side, and they don’t have anywhere to go. And the new performers get to play with professionals. Everybody wins; that’s how we roll.”

Doré wants to use the Jazz Jam to share the west side’s musical talent, and establish relationships with people who are participating in events like this in the community.

“We now have a west side center for live music on a regular basis. With this low cost and high-quality entertainment, we strive to bring young students out to play with seasoned professionals. It is such a wonderful outlet… there are so many well-educated musicians here.”

Jivemind Music Labs: A place to call home

Jivemind Cooperative Music Labs, the home of the Jazz Jam, is also starting its own rise through the valley’s music scene. On the corner of 58th Avenue and Glenn Drive in downtown Glendale, the founders describe Jivemind on their website as “a community workshop where musicians, producers and hobbyists realize their projects, practice their art, and connect with others.”

Jivemind offers rehearsal space and a growing collection of accessible instruments, recording studio space, as well as regular clinics, workshops and performances, including the Jazz Jam. With nearly a dozen varieties and levels of membership plans at Jivemind, Rose and Chaffin believe everyone interested in music should be able find a comfortable environment to enjoy and practice music, and meet others who enjoy doing the same.

“I’d like Jivemind to continue to gain momentum, said Rose. “It’s going to be the happening spot, with lots of events, lots of really awesome equipment. We’ve gotten to funnel performance opportunities to younger performers. I’d like to see musicians playing, learning and networking.”

Jivemind held an open house the weekend leading up to when Rose and Chaffin opened the doors. They got overwhelmingly positive feedback, including a news network affiliate. They are excited about the publicity, but they remain most excited about the good it will do for music enthusiasts in the area.

“Dawell, a drummer and regular here, said it best: ‘Everyone has a voice, however developed, and everyone should have a right to express it,’” Rose said. “And we’re trying to do that. We want to foster a culture that is growing. We want to give all the musicians in town a voice, and we’re here to help them develop those voices.”

Different roads to the same song

Rose said he and co-founder Chaffin arrived at the need for a place like Jivemind separately, knocking on doors, making contact with musicians and organizers in the area.

For Rose, it started when he played his drum set at home, and with the paper-thin walls of his apartment complex, that didn’t go over well.

“It was not a healthy environment to play and practice,” he said. “I got my drums out of home, and I took them to another sketchy place, and soon they were trashed. I just wanted to play my drums…”

Rose said he wanted to also go out and meet musicians, and have a good, safe place to play.

“There ought to be a place in town that can provide you with contacts, instruments, and a place to play, a central location in Phoenix that provides that,” he said.

Rose said when he asked around for who he should talk to in the area to get started in the music industry, Kimber Lanning’s name kept coming up. Rose said Lanning, a “well-connected and approachable player” in the music scene, put him in contact with other active members of the music community, including Nate Anderson.

Meanwhile, Chaffin grew up an hour north of Austin, Texas.

“Any day of the week, you can just walk down the street, and see a show,” Chaffin said. “The music scene is incredible. Plus, I’ve been writing and recording music since I was able to read at all. Anything I did in music, I was very encouraged, coming from a musical family.”

Chaffin said when he looked into the issue; he found most recording studios in the traditional sense weren’t making money. So he formulated the idea for a “lean and mean” studio. He, too, approached Kimber Lanning, who also led him to Nate Anderson. This was when Rose and Chaffin first met.

“Together, we came up with a holistic concept,” Chaffin said. “Venues, recording, and gear usually get expensive, and can stifle you. We provide these resources, and a great chance to meet other musicians.”

Chaffin added with a smile, Jivemind is “like a gym for musicians,” and advised enthusiasts not to buy an expensive elliptical, but to go to the gym.

“And there are people there with you, with a shared interest, a like mindset you can’t get at home,” Rose added. “However serious or recreational it is, there ought to be a place like this.”

Taking it from the top

Now that Jivemind has opened, Rose and Chaffin are amazed, seeing their dreams for what the local music scene deserves turned into a reality.

“I don’t know about Dustin, but it’s better than I had imagined,” Rose said. “We’re happy with where we are, but we know what we have to do to keep improving. It will grow so much greater from here.”

As part of that list, the duo is working more heavily on spreading the word to the community. As they show the community their finished product, Rose said more people will get on board.

Rose said the pair is working now on workshops and activities based around various musicians’ topics. Many are still conceptual ideas, but Rose mentioned a possible drum lab as an example, facilitated by a teacher, where music lovers can jam, practice and socialize.

“For sure, we want to expand our membership base, and the continued growth of what we have to offer musicians, from instruments and performance space to fun, interesting programs,” Rose said. “That’s the kind of stuff we like to do.”

The Start of Something Great

Now Thursday’s Jazz Jam wraps up at Jivemind Music Labs, and everyone in the crowd who wanted to take the stage has gotten the chance to jam with professionals in the valley music scene. The crowd is clapping for great performances, and tapping toes and bopping heads can’t help but keep the rhythm that fills Glendale’s newest spot for live music and music lovers. And off to the side, Jivemind co-founder Jeff Rose works the sound console, and in the back, Rose’s co-founder Dustin Chaffin stands with Jazz Jam organizer Elizabeth Doré, all three nodding and tapping along with the crowd.

Their smiles, however, may be just a bit larger.

Downtown Glendale Jazz Jam
Every Thursday, 7:30-10:00 pm
Held at Jivemind

Jivemind Cooperative Music Labs
5754 West Glenn Drive Glendale, AZ 85301
(408) 475-5483