B. Thomas of the beginner level violins with Juneau Alaska Music Matters plays for a full crowd at the Mendenhall Mall during the annual Juneau Holiday Village on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

B. Thomas of the beginner level violins with Juneau Alaska Music Matters plays for a full crowd at the Mendenhall Mall during the annual Juneau Holiday Village on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JAMM takes center stage at Holiday Village

Kids jam for a good cause.

Karla Nash looks forward to passing along her lifelong appreciation of classical music to her two sons Noah and Caleb with the help of Juneau Alaska Music Matters.

“One of my boys has been involved for two years and the other one this is his first year,” said Nash, a lifelong Juneauite. “I love the JAMM program, I think it’s been amazing. One of my kid’s is really, really into it and the other one is getting there. But it’s been really great, my husband plays the cello and so it’s big within my family, we love the string instruments.”

Noah and Caleb Nash along with Iyla Stekoll play for the Juneau Holiday Village on Saturday at the Mendenhall Mall. Juneau Alaska Matters featured musicians from Auke Bay, Kax̱dig̱oowu Héen, and Sitʼ Eeti Shaanax̱ Glacier Valley Elementary schools as well as the Floyd Dryden Middle School seventh and eighth grade orchestras. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Noah and Caleb Nash along with Iyla Stekoll play for the Juneau Holiday Village on Saturday at the Mendenhall Mall. Juneau Alaska Matters featured musicians from Auke Bay, Kax̱dig̱oowu Héen, and Sitʼ Eeti Shaanax̱ Glacier Valley Elementary schools as well as the Floyd Dryden Middle School seventh and eighth grade orchestras. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

This Saturday, JAMM musicians from Auke Bay Elementary, Kax̱dig̱oowu Héen Elementary, and Sitʼ Eeti Shaanax̱ Glacier Valley Elementary took turns performing throughout the day at the Holiday Village in the Mendenhall Mall, immediately followed by the Floyd Dryden seventh and eighth grade orchestras.

JAMM executive director Meghan Johnson has been with the program for 11 years and said the Holiday Village performance is one particular event that she and the kids are always especially excited for.

[Stocking up for the holidays]

“We did this last year and had a lot of fun, so we’re very excited to be back here,” Johnson said. “We always have a great turnout and we’ll just have different little groups playing throughout the day. They’ve been polishing up their holiday tunes, they’re wearing their holiday sweaters and now that things are starting to come back in person, we are getting to do more things in the community and this is definitely one of the big ones that we look forward to.”

Instructor James Cheng with Juneau Alaska Music Matters conducts students from the intermediate program on Saturday during the annual Holiday Village event at the Mendenhall Mall. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Instructor James Cheng with Juneau Alaska Music Matters conducts students from the intermediate program on Saturday during the annual Holiday Village event at the Mendenhall Mall. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Started in 2014, the Juneau Holiday Village is an annual month-long event at the Mendenhall Mall that is free to the public. Johnson said all donations made go directly to JAMM to help the kindergarten through 12th grade violin and music exploratory program. Additionally, Seaside Diesel and Repair agreed to match the amount of donations raised over the weekend, according to Johnson. She said that while the event mostly follows the same structure, this year’s performance showcased some newer musical features.

“We start with Auke Bay Elementary, it’s the beginning level which is mostly second and third grade, then intermediate and then advanced violin and cello,” Johnson said. “Then we’re also excited to have strummers, this is the first year that we’ve ever offered bluegrass after school and so it’ll be a mix of guitar, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle and bass, and we’re doing that for each school.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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