A team of brilliant ladies have combined talents to bring you the best the jazz world has to offer next month, writes Annemarie Quill.

This Easter Tauranga will host a great line-up of Kiwi and international acts that will keep you dancing all weekend at the Jazz Festival. We meet the four hardworking ladies of the National Jazz Festival team.

Becks Chambers, festival director

Becks, 29, lives in Welcome Bay and has been involved with the Jazz Festival since 2006.


"I visited Tauranga in October 2005 not long after graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK where I studied a Bachelor of Arts degree in live theatre and performance studies.

"From a young age I have always been passionate about music and theatre and engaging audiences. Live performances are a fantastic way of bringing the community together and keeping the arts alive. I was lucky enough to have experienced so much of the British festival scene from such a young age. I was eager to see how they do it on this side of the world.

"My first involvement in the festival was when I worked on the event crew and in the box office at Baycourt Theatre in 2006. I have worked on every Jazz festival in some capacity ever since.

"The Tauranga Jazz Society officially employed me in 2010 and I managed the Jazz Village. I was bursting with enthusiasm and new ideas and felt right at home as I have always had a love of jazz and in the UK near my home town there are a couple of big Jazz Festivals _ the Upton and Cheltenham Jazz festivals.

"This is my second year as the festival director. In the run up to the festival, every day is a whirlwind of piecing together all the logistics of the event from dealing with schools, who compete in the youth comps, to bands who play at the Jazz Village, to road closures and waste management, we also spend a lot of time assisting the public to find out what part of the festival they would most enjoy and promoting the event on a national level.

"This year I am particularly looking forward to Jezebel of Jazz: Songs and Stories of Anita O'Day. Not only is it great that we can showcase an up and coming artist such as Liz Kirkham, the show is also close to our hearts as Anita O'Day featured in the film Jazz on a Summer's Day, which was the film that inspired three local Jazz lovers to start this festival in 1963.

"I will be spending the festival making sure everything runs smoothly. Most importantly ensuring that everyone from audience members, musicians, students, stallholders, contractors, sponsors, volunteers, supporters and the rest of the festival team are happy. It won't stop there though. We all chip in to put signs up, hand out flyers, and pick up performers up from the airport. Basically, whatever needs doing to deliver the festival.''

Megan Clarkin, marketing and promotions co-ordinator

Megan lives in the Mount with husband Glen and sons James, 4, and Max, 2.

"I came to be involved in the festival through one of those classic, "through a friend of a friend'' situations, that seem to happen a lot in Tauranga. I heard that Becks was looking for a hand with some marketing and communications for the festival last year, so I made contact and basically started work the very next day!

"I started a month out from the 2013 festival so that was a baptism by fire. This year I've had a bit more time to get my head around it all. Apart from Becks, we all work part time _ I generally work one day a week in the office and then juggle the rest around being a stay-at-home mum.

"I am looking forward to seeing Adam Page and Jezebel of Jazz.

"Adam's show will be hugely entertaining _ he is funny, clever and a very talented musician. Edinburgh Fringe love him and keep asking him back, so he must be good! I'm particularly looking forward to finding out exactly how he plays his beard!

"Jezebel is a completely different show. Anita O'Day's life is fascinating _ drugs, men and music _ and Liz Kirkman is a brilliant Wellington actress and the reviews of her singing are fantastic.

"Once Easter hits, it's all hands on deck. No one does just one thing and we all pitch in and help out. It's exhausting, but great fun.''

Sair L'Rhook, graphic designer

Sair, 35, lives in Otumoetai with husband Rhooky who she met while backpacking around New Zealand in 2005.

"I started working with the Jazz Festival in 2011, working as a volunteer; guiding traffic in the car parks for the steam train, and standing on the doors as a ticket collector.

"In the run-up to the festival I will be attached to my beloved Mac creating posters, billboards, flyers and other last minute signage.

"I can't wait to see the Jezebel of Jazz: Songs and Stories of Anita O'Day _ I've heard a bit about her life, and think this will be brill.

"I also want to see the Sisters of Swing _ I love the wartime tunes of the Andrews Sisters, and am always keep for a spot of dancing.''

Tracy Stockman, community events project manager
Tracy, 44, lives in Welcome Bay with husband Andrew and children Brad, 15, and Hannah, 13, having moved to Tauranga from Christchurch in 2005.

"I started working with the festival in 2011 when I helped to deliver the Jazz Village. I help deal with queries from stall holders, performers, suppliers and teachers. I am looking forward to the Gala Opening with Jackie Ryan and would love to catch a peek at the Sisters of Swing. When the festival starts I will help co-ordinate the volunteers.

"The Jazz Village has a unique atmosphere and I have enjoyed being a part of this event over the past four years. It's very satisfying at the end of a day to have visitors come up to let you know they have enjoyed spending the whole day at the village and will be coming back for the second day.

Once the Historic Village is dressed up with bunting that reflects the New Orleans style of the Jazz Village, the whole vibe changes and we have a fantastic two days.''