The PipJazz Foundation Story
Pippi Ardennia, born and raised in Chicago, came to Minnesota in 2005 to work on writing her new cd project. She also had a vision that sparked in her. for youth in Minnesota after experiencing the music scene around the time. PipJazz began with the founder, president, and hostess, Pippi Ardennia because she had the passion to give opportunities to the young artist and desired to offer them the experience she had when she was a 13-year-old singer in Chicago night clubs. What she and co-founder Glenn Swanson describe as baptism by fire! Which is the opportunity for young musicians to find their voice by being on stage with world-class musicians and performing music that they either only practice to learn or performed in a recital setting but not with the level of jazz conversation of professional jazz musicians improvising. This experience is NOT your school recital; students find their authentic voice in the freedom of the music in this safe environment.
In 2010 the concept of PipJazz Foundation/Sunday was born! Then Pippi and Glenn start looking for a home for the PipJazz Foundation/Sunday’s concerts and they found the Landmark Center and made it our home. Next, working on partnerships and collaborated with Twin Cities Jazz Society and Danita Jackson and Walker West Music Academy, Felix James and many more. Pippi brought the culture from Chicago to Minnesota by giving youth new opportunities to expand their potential. PipJazz was soon the hot topic bringing communities together in a way that identified the children who had talent, good music, and good personalities, as well as highlighting the lineage of young artist success as musicians in a family-friendly way.
The mission of PipJazz has remained the same, “Is to bring world-class music to the community in a family-friendly environment where young people can be inspired to fully engage in the arts and find their voice.” However now, we’re focusing on youth finding their voice more proficiently by expanding what their love for music can create while being able to write, produce, and promote shows and create platforms to be heard and seen is paramount, as the days of getting traditional gigs are becoming tougher to find. PipJazz believes that if young musicians essentially can identify their most prominent passions and create a statement of desire for how that looks, our new youth artist will begin to crystalize their vision and find their voice more effectively and PipJazz will give them the opportunity to express that vision/mission on stage. PipJazzs long term goal is to duplicate the program in rural areas and inner cities as well as satellite and see PipJazz in the communities of people all over the world, while bringing together old and young, professional and novice, revitalizing communities and local venues, and most importantly bringing purpose and direction to these talented young artists.
For its first few years, PipJazz sponsored a concert season, pairing a guest artist with a “house band” of area professionals, along with a student guest artist from Twin Cities high schools and colleges. At least one “Youth Artist in Residence” was designated for each concert season. The Foundation later added a “Women in Jazz” workshop and performance event each season. Pippi and PipJazz Youth have also performed at special events, fundraisers, and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Over the past year, PipJazz has worked more often with “older” youth from McNally Smith College of Music and other young musicians working their way into the local jazz scene, with the focus of recent concerts on the young artists who serve as the PipJazz ensemble.
PipJazz is now back up in running in the year of 2019