We Be Jammin’
By Bill Nuvo
(WINDSOR, ON) – Kudos again to Facebook for networking! I connected to Jeff Bourque-Derochie, creator of Jam Space which is a unique rehearsal and recording space for musicians and music lovers alike, located on 2680 Ouellette Avenue here in Windsor, Ontario.
Bill Nuvo: Can you give me some background on yourself. Schooling, musical instruments you play, how you started in music, etc…
Jeff Bourque-Derochie: As far as schooling goes, I graduated from St Clair in 1993 from Business Information Systems. During my stay at St Clair, I was also going through to be a designated appraiser with the Appraisal Institute of Canada, which is currently my main profession. I own Jeff Derochie Appraisal Service and have been doing appraisal work in Windsor for over 20 years now. As far as music goes, I own a lot of instruments and gear but cannot use any of it…lol (seriously). My wife, 4 kids and brother/sister in-law all play.
BN: What led you to the idea of Jam Space? Did you notice something missing in Windsor? Was it something personal that you wanted yourself?
JB: My first inspiration for Jam Space came in April 2010 after driving home from one of my daughter’s performances in Leamington. I was just so proud and was thinking of ways for her and our kids to stay interested in music. The thought came to me on that ride and I remember grabbing a pen while I was driving and started jotting down all these different ideas, which is now Jam Space. When I got home, I went immediately into my office and started working on a business plan since all the ideas kept coming into my head. That night we were going to visit my wife’s sister and brother-in-law who I wanted to be a part of this idea as they are both musicians and very talented. One of my first main ideas was the rehearsal rooms, my brother-in-law/partner at Jam Space plays in a couple of bands and they were rehearsing in an old warehouse with no security and had to carry in their gear all the time. That is when it hit me to have a place for bands to just come in and start playing in a secure, clean environment. I did lots or research and notice Windsor had nothing like this. Once I brought the new business plan over to our partners’ house that night, they were very excited and we just started building on the plan. Within a month, we had our location secured and started building Jam Space. We had many bumps but for the most part our plan is going along smoothly.
BN: I notice that you have sponsored rooms. Why did you consider that? How did you go about getting the sponsors to say yes?
JB: As we were building our rehearsal rooms and studio, I was always thinking of ways to promote our business and came up with the idea of getting the rooms sponsored by local companies that could help us, as we help them. Our lounge is sponsored by Unwined The Wine Making Company; The Rock Room; The Phog; Villians. We still are looking for the right fit to sponsor the recording studio. The sponsorships are purely open, we get some services from the sponsors and in turn we name the room after them and try to promote their business as much as we can (nothing monetary).
BN: Plug your current and upcoming events
JB: Our Jam Academy program is probably our biggest success. We currently have 23 kids (ages 12 to 18) enrolled and it is basically Windsor’s “School of Rock”. The kids meet every week for 2.5 hours at Jam Space, write original music and learn covers, practice and are coached by Dave Allen and Jason Testawich. We are currently working on starting Jam Space Rock-A-Holics which is an adult version of Jam Academy. We are also working on promoting a series of concerts in April (more to come on that). Jam Space is just launching “Instruments for Kids.” We partnered up with Big Brothers/Sisters and Children’s Aid Society. We basically call on the public to drop off their used instruments, amps and learning material and we find homes for them with the help of the above organizations. A lot of these kids do not have the means to purchase the instruments so we get them. Jam Space will put on teaching clinics throughout the year for the kids who received instruments (no charge for any of the clinics). We are also going to give out 1 Jam Academy scholarship per semester to one of the kids in the program.
BN: Are your children into the performing arts?
JB: I have 2 children and my wife has 2 children and all 4 are very much into music. My oldest daughter goes to Walkerville in the arts program and is a very talented singer. She also plays piano, sax and guitar. My son plays drums; step son plays guitar and bass and my 7 year old step daughter plays piano and violin. They love hanging out at Jam Space. My daughter actually has a nick name at Walkerville, everyone calls her “Jam Space Girl”.
BN: What are your future hopes for Jam Space? Would you like to see other similar spaces in other towns/cities?
JB: I would love to see Jam Space in other Ontario cities. I always have that in the back of my head as a future plan but we have a lot of growing to do here in Windsor before we can even consider moving on.
BN: What notable performers have been to Jam Space already?
JB: Jam Space has seen many notable performers come through the doors, mostly local artists and bands. During the months of October to mid December, we had Jody Raffoul; Jeff Burrows; Kelly Hoppe; David Cyarrene (not sure if that is how you spell their names) rehearsing at Jam Space for their Christmas CD that was created for Charity. Jam Space donated the space whenever they needed it to practice. It was really nice to have some great local talent use our facilities.
BN: Any unique stories to tell about the business thus far?
JB: When we first opened for business we had a Jamathon called “We play for food” with donations required to enter your band (can goods or cash). Any local bands that wanted to come out during the day or night had to call and reserve a spot, tell their friends and show up and play. That was an amazing day, we got to meet a lot of great people and help Windsor Goodfellows just before Christmas when they needed it the most. The parking lot was full and all 4 rehearsal rooms were rockin!
BN: I want to thank you for your time. I think you have a really good thing going here. I wish much success with Jam Space.
Bill Nuvo owns and operates the Windsor-based, Nuvo Entertainment your one stop entertainment resource.
Short URL: http://www.windsorsquare.ca/?p=25407