A trio of players, quietly playing a quaint island melody. Palm tress softly swaying in the background. Dancers form the festive and carefree conga line. These are the makings of the stereotypical “steel band” experience.
Jovert obliterates those stereotypes. Well…ok…the players do conga on occasion.
When people hear Jovert, they will hear familiar songs…they just won’t hear them in a familiar way. When Jovert plays, listeners can expect to be surprised, enlightened, and above all, entertained. Movement, theatrics, and choreography are very much a part of each Jovert performance.
Students from Tucson High Magnet School in Tucson, Arizona make up Jovert. Originally started in 1991 as the Tucson High Steel Band, the program developed over its first few years, but remained small until its present director, Khris Dodge, arrived on the scene in 1999.
Khris Dodge became the director of the steel band in the fall of 1999 and formed Jovert in the year 2000. When he inherited the program, there were two bands and 17 students total. Today, the program boasts four bands and over 110 students.
Jovert’s largest performing ensemble contains more than 30 players. However, versatility is the band’s strong suit. Different ensembles of varying sizes perform in venues all over Tucson, Arizona, and the Southwest.
The bands have recorded four critically-acclaimed CDs over the last eight years, and their music has sold on every continent except Antarctica (but don’t think they’ve given up on that!) Aside from selling thousand of copies of their albums, their music is also sold digitally on many websites; most notably, iTunes.
Live performances are still the crux of the group, and the most dynamic way to experience their music. Notable performances include yearly local engagements at The Reid Park Zoolights, Zoocson, and 4th Avenue Street Fair as well as tours to Southern California, Las Vegas, and Northern Arizona. They have also been featured performers for the mayor of Tucson, Arizona Special Olympics, Tucson City Council members, state representatives, and major national employers (IBM, Raytheon.) Additionally, Jovert has twice performed on live television performances for Cox Communication’s Everyday Heroes in 2005 and 2007.
Think this can’t be true? Be the judge. Check out the pictures. Listen to the songs. Watch the videos. And know this…it’s ok to conga.