The co-creators of the TD Niagara Jazz Festival (Juliet Dunn and Peter Shea) strongly believe in mentoring and empowering youth in their community and beyond. They have developed a program for youth called: ‘Jazz 4 the Ages’. Under this umbrella, the festival produces an annual ‘Jazz 4 the Ages’ Youth competition as well as various workshops and Master Classes for youth. The festival works and partners with various schools such as Ridley College, Laura Secord High School, Mohawk College and many more to help bring this program to fruition.

This program has provided learning opportunities for various young and upcoming musicians as well as performance opportunities for them in a professional environment (sometimes up to 700 audience members) and chances for the participants to meet and network with established and successful musicians.

The auditions are curated by a panel of professional jazz musicians with background in the following: Piano, guitar, vocal, saxophone, trumpet, drums, organ, producing and more…

Auditions for the ‘Jazz 4 the Ages’ Youth Competition are announced here on our website and take place in the spring.

In 2020 the Finals will take place at Vieni Sparkle Fest on Sunday, June 28th.

Categories for the competition are 12 and under / 13 – 17 and 18 – 23. Vocalists*, solo instrumentalists* and bands may apply.

* Vocalists and solo instrumentalists will perform their audition piece with a jazz duo (made up of our professional judges).

To apply for our 2020 auditions, click HERE

2019 Jazz 4 the Ages Winners and Finalists


Armineh Soreen-Ghazarian

Category: 13 – 17 – Solo Vocal

An Ontario born Armenian-Canadian, Armineh Soreen-Ghazarian grew up around music: she grew up listening to her father playing keyboards. Armine was singing from age 2. Although she has not performed on stage before, her dream is to perform worldwide. She wants to inspire other young singers to be true to yourself and always believe! Because no matter what you are someone important.

Armine gives thanks to her mother, father, brother, sisters and her close family and friends for always supporting her in everything she does and giving her the strength to always do her best! and above all, she is thankful to God for giving her this beautiful gift!

Dexter Sonier

Category: 18 – 23 – Solo Instrumentalist

Dexter Sonier is a musician and actor from St. Catharines ON. He has been playing in the Niagara region And the GTA for 12 years and is now a performer at Oh Canada Eh Dinner Theatre in Niagara Falls. He recently finished his first year at Humber College’s Jazz program and has studied with Joey Goldstein and Ted Quinlan.

Emilio Geremia

Category: 12 and under – Solo instrument FIRST PLACE

Emilio is thrilled to be a finalist in this year’s 2019 Jazz for the Ages Youth Competition.  He is an 11-year old inspiring musician and has been studying piano since the age of 3 ½ here in the Niagara Region.  Not only is he a talented pianist, but an accomplished drummer as well. In 2015 and 2017, Emilio was the recipient of the Canadian National Conservatory’s “Silver Medal Award” for the highest mark in Canada in piano musicianship and performance.  He attends Wheatley School in St. Catharines, and is the accompanist for their Junior and Senior Choirs, while also playing piano at his local church parish. Emilio has a natural flair for improvisation and enjoys playing various genres of music. One of his musical inspirations is the Canadian jazz legend, Oscar Peterson.


Isabella Milano

Category: 13 – 17 – Solo Vocal FIRST PLACE

Isabella Milano, 14 years old, started singing and learning about music at the age of 5. Isabella is a Kiwanis music Festival award winner for the most promising voice which she received in April of 2018. She is a student at the Royal Conservatory of Music and is currently in her 7th year of training. Isabella plays the piano, guitar and is a  singer/songwriter who has partaken in various events within the community through participating at Niagara Music Festivals and volunteering for the Niagara Falls History Museum. Isabella recently competed at the 2019 OMFA provincial music festival in Niagara Falls. 


Jack Tredway

Category: 12 and under – Solo instrument

Ten year-old Jack is thrilled to be participating in the Jazz for the Ages Competition! He’s a proud Ridley College Tiger, who studies piano with Janice Fralick. His musical influences include Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and Bruno Mars. He’s passionate about sports, both as a player and as a fan. He’s looking forward to studying percussion at the Niagara Symphony Music camp this summer. Jack would like to thank his family, especially his brother Jonah, teachers and friends for their continued support in his artistic and athletic pursuits. 


James Dunbar

Category: 13 – 17 – Solo instrument FIRST PLACE

At the age of 15, James’ has played a combo of jazz standards and original compositions in venues throughout Toronto and southern Ontario. These have included a residency at the Jazz Bistro, gigs at the 120 Diner, performance at the 2016 Youth Day Festival, guest appearances with the Honey Runners and Samantha Martin and a number of private functions. James’ talent has been recognized at the 2016 TD Niagara Jazz Festival where he was the winner of the “Jazz for the Ages” youth category, and the nation-wide 2015 Kelloggs Nominate Talent Contest.  


Kate Stevens

Category: 18 – 23 – Solo Instrumentalist FIRST PLACE

The recipient of the 2018 YYC Music Awards Female Artist of the Year and the Zackari and the Prophets Memorial Award, the vocal talents of Calgarian Kate Stevens has been described as a diverse mix of emotive folk, soulful pop, with distinctive melodies and meaningful lyrics. Kate is a community builder, collaborator, and supporter of young musicians. She is the creator of Youth Musicians of Music Mile Alliance (YOMOMMA) which connects, provides mentorship and performance opportunities for aspiring youth She performs as a soloist and more recently with the Calgary-based band, Sweet Barry Wine. Stevens was a participant and performer at Canadian Music Week 2019 and is a  featured Alberta artist for a new Canadian television show called The Moment, which airs in September 2019. Her latest single, Meant for Me, comes as a dual release. Both tracks feature her expressive vocals and create images of a sweet romance on a hot summer night. The A-side features the full single, recorded and produced by Juno award-winning musician Russell Broom at OCL Studios, while the B-side acoustic version of Meant for Me was recorded in Toronto while participating in the CMI Artist Entrepreneur Program. In2018, Stevens released It’s Real and Right Choice; these followed her debut EP, Handmade Rumours. You can find Stevens on all social platforms under Kate Stevens Music.



Sophi De Luca

Category: 18 – 23 – Solo Instrumentalist

Sophi DeLuca is a classically trained vocalist, receiving 5 years of operatic vocal lessons, in both English and Italian, and as well, is a self-taught guitarist. As an artist, she showcases her versatility performing various genres of music including, but not limited to, blues, classic rock, jazz, country, pop, and contemporary. Sophi has performed on numerous stages as a member of the former duo, “Tuscany”, including opening up for Virginia to Vegas in 2018 at his show in St. Catherines, Ontario. Sophi DeLuca is currently a solo artist and songwriter, actively collaborating with other artists of the Niagara community and working towards the release of her first official EP. 



Category: 13 – 17 – Group FIRST PLACE

Brought together by their school’s jazz ensemble, 535 has only been playing together for 6 months. Despite being so new, the band brings out a refreshing yet cohesive sound through the variety of musical backgrounds present in the band, and through the most solid foundation, a band could have: friendship. They’re perfect for basically any event, so you know who to call if you need a band to play your wedding, trivia night, bar mitzvah, bachelorette party, or even jazz festival if you want your socks rocked off.


Vasily Shugaev

Category: 13 – 17 – Solo instrument

Vasily Shugaev was born in St. Petersburg Russia, but was raised and lived most of his life in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He first discovered his love for music with the piano which he played since the age of 6. However, he realized his calling when he picked up the alto saxophone in 7th-grade playing for his school band. He started playing jazz almost immediately and fell in love with the graceful patterns. He has been playing the alto sax ever since, playing everything from cool jazz and funk to bebop and fusion. Vasily now spends much of the time he doesn’t spend studying, playing the saxophone and honing his skills. 

He is very excited to be participating in the Jazz 4 the Ages competition.