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The Story Behind the Council of Canadian Bassoonists

One of the privileges we have at B.O.S.S. is communicating with passionate bassoonists from around the world!

Some are gifted performers. Others are great teachers, mentors, and role models for younger bassoonists. Still others compose music for the bassoon. And then there are those seeking to create a sustainable future for the bassoon by volunteering their time helping younger musicians to become aware of and experience the bassoon, particularly in circumstances where those experiences may be difficult.

Nadina Mackie Jackson is all of the above and so much more.

As the founder of the Council of Canadian Bassoonists (COCB), Canada's only registered charity for the advancement of bassoon education, Nadina is dedicated helping musicians of all ages and diverse audiences in Canada to learn the bassoon.

She recently wrote about how this organization actually came to be.

The Council of Canadian Bassoonists (COCB) was established by Nadina during one of the busiest times of her career, when she was recording and releasing concerto albums, teaching 21 students across 3 universities and one conservatory in three cities and two countries. She was a mom and took care of her parents in-between recordings, tours, concerts and teaching.

She had always wanted to create something that captures the charitable instinct of great bassoon teachers and eager students, somewhere people could turn when they needed help and answers. She knew from her own experiences as a bassoonist that the odds of achieving success with playing the bassoon greatly increased when experienced players were there to help.

There are many expenses to consider when playing the bassoon. The bassoon itself is one of the more expensive instruments. Reed-making tools and supplies are costly. Factoring in buying music and finding regular teachers and schools, she realized that many potential bassoonists need greater support.

Initially, Nadina had grand visions of an organization that could encompass everything from teaching to bassoon competitions, scholarships, and launching recordings that could showcase Canada’s great depth of performance and compositional talent, lending inspiration to future students. But she learned that registered education charities must be focused on activities that can be immediately identified as educational, such as workshops, performances for wider audiences and developing educational resources.

Inspired by the enthusiasm of a friend (a horn player named Wendy Limbertie), Nadina and her former husband Fraser Jackson put together the applications required to establish the Council of Canadian Bassoonists. Wendy was intrigued with Nadina's own personal struggles growing up, trying to get bassoon lessons when she lived in northern British Columbia but the nearest bassoon teacher was 500 miles away in Vancouver. During that time, it was almost impossible for low-income individuals anywhere in Canada to have access to the bassoon, to teachers and to concerts, and Wendy encouraged Nadina to establish something good for the community.

Together with the help of Fraser Jackson, they enlisted a compassionate lawyer (Andrew Lokan) and began the long requisite process of first establishing a non-profit-organization in Ontario. This was finally achieved in 2006. They then began a three-year process of filing for full status as a registered charity, and were officially granted full status as a Canadian charity on January 16, 2009.

The original Board consisted of Nadina Mackie, Fraser Jackson, and Leslie Magowan (one of Nadina's closest bassoon friends in the world.) Fraser was replaced by Canada's pioneering bassoon soloist and impresario, George Zuckerman who remained on the board until 2018.

Today, COCB's current Board includes renowned bassoonists and teachers, representation from younger players, established bassoonists, amateur bassoonists, and community players. They are currently working together to increase their online resources, upgrading the capacity of the website, working towards launching the membership platform so that people can easily register. They are also collaborating with award-winning young composer Sonia Paco-Rocchia to create music new music for new bassoonists of all ages, a project that introduces extended techniques along with the basics, creating more bassoon music and experiences that can be enjoyed by all.

2023 Board Members of the Council of Canadian Bassoonists (COCB)

Christopher Millard, Treasurer, retired principal bassoon, National Arts Centre Orchestra

Neil Bishop, Secretary, Sistema NB

Jo Ann Simpson, University of Ottawa, Brooke Valley Bassoon Days

Stéphane Lévesque, principal Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, McGill University

Richard Ranti, associate principal Boston Symphony

Darren Hicks, principal National Arts Centre Orchestra

Nicolas Richard, second Kitchener-Waterloo

Gabe Azzie, principal Symphony Nova Scotia

Barbara Finch, community development, Sault Ste-Marie Symphony

Jesse Read, retired director school of music University of British Columbia

Heather Gibson, high school music teacher The Pas, northern Manitoba

Emily Carlsen, grad student, multi-instrumentalist, bassoon tech, University of British Columbia

Philip Morehead, retired head of music staff, Chicago Lyric Opera

Adam Romey, Manager of Digital Concerts and Broadcasts of the Minnesota Orchestra

COCB's present goals are to advance bassoon awareness and education across all of Canada, bringing the bassoon to people young and old, including to diverse audiences, and amateur and community players along with dedicated career bassoonists.

COCB's purpose: To bring knowledge and love of the bassoon to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Nadina will be stepping down from the Board after seventeen years of service and handing the reins to her colleagues. We are looking forward to seeing how this amazing organization will continue to shape educational and charitable efforts benefiting countless future generations of bassoonists and audiences, both in Canada and beyond thanks to the internet.

For the complete in-depth story and more thoughts from Nadina Mackie on her personal journey with the Council of Canadian Bassoonists, please click here.

Additional resources for the Council of Canadian Bassoonists:

Website I

Facebook I

Instagram I

Twitter I

About Nadina Mackie Jackson

Nadina Mackie is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 13 solo albums, 8 chamber music recordings to her credit. She also has dozens of albums with symphonic, chamber and historical instrument orchestras, including the Montreal Symphony, Aradia Baroque Ensemble, the group of twenty-seven, Tafelmusik, and the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. She has performed in numerous parts of the world including Canada, Japan, the US, Europe and South America.

She has given masterclasses throughout Canada, the US, and South America. She is also the author of "Solitary Refinement", "Scales Chords and Chromatics", "Concepts for the Committed Bassoonist."

Always mindful of the challenges young bassoonists are facing, she has taught at the University of Toronto, the Glenn Gould School of the Royal conservatory of Music, and is on the advisory council for the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition. She joined the faculty of the Glickman Popkin Bassoon Camp in North Carolina.

Nadina is also the founder and president of the Council of Canadian Bassoonists, a nationally recognized charity for the advancement of bassoon education.

“Mackie Jackson tosses off rapid-fire runs… gorgeous singing tone.”

(Winnipeg Free Press)

“Brilliant artistry shines out like a jewel.”

(Audio Society of Atlanta)

For more information about Nadina Mackie Jackson and the incredible things she is doing with bassoon (and more), please make sure to visit her profile page and website.​

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