Artistic Director, Vice President and Co-Founder New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation
Executive and Artistic Director and Founder Worcester Jazz Festival
Stephen Bourassa was born into music. Before he could walk he had pulled out his mother’s Tupperware containers and started playing drums. He picked up his first guitar in 3rd grade, started his first band in 4th grade and began playing the piano in Junior High school. From fourth grade on he was involved in the standard school groups, i.e., chorus, concert band, dance band, etc. Stephen is currently a performing songwriter and leads his NEJazz AllStars and country band Stomp N’ Holler.
Come his first year at Boston University Stephen started creating events, from dormitory parties to fundraisers for worthy causes. Stephen also started writing music and discovering many different styles from the Latin rhythms and improvisation of the early Santana bands to the Jazz of Brubeck. Next stop was Berklee College of music where he went from academic probation at BU to the Presidents list at Berklee.
Stephen’s passions have always been Music and bringing people together. Next stop was as an artist agent and promoter managing and working with artists such as Jazz pianist Rusty Scott, vocalist Patrice Williamson and singer-songwriters Sara Wheeler and Ashley Cox. Stephen delved into the local jazz world helping to create and promote shows with guest artists such as Harold Layne, Bill Pierce, Harry Reed and Gordon Beadle and became a member of JazzBoston’s
JazzWeek event committee creating the JazzWeek High School jazz Band Showcase held at the BPL.
Jazz isn’t just for old people sitting in their living room. Jazz is on our streets, in our neighborhoods and in our schools. ~Stephen Bourassa
Stephen’s work with and exposure to many excellent local jazz artist and school programs led him to start the Newton Jazz Festival which featured local artists including saxophonist Bill Pierce, vocalists Patrice Williamson and Dominique Eade. The Newton Jazz Festival grew from a front yard
block party with some 50 attendees to an annual event drawing 500+ and eventually to a partnership with the City of Newton to create the Newtonville Jazz & Street Festival (aka Newtonville Village Day) which drew an estimated 3,000+ annually.
The New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation was born from the Newton Jazz Festival. NEJEF CEO Susan Workman saw the need for a non-profit to help further the growth and fundraising for the festival and associated ideas such as scholarships (Susan G. Parks Scholarship Fund) for students in need of lessons, rental instruments, educational trips, as well as mental health and music programs and recognition awards(Harold Layne Jazz Legend Award) for those who have contributed to the music community.
The Power of Music & Community Coming Together ~ The New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation
One of the guest performers at the Newton Jazz Festival’s
Patrice Williamson’s Celebrating Ella was Worcester’s own Dale LePage. After Dale’s performance he said that
you need to come and do this in Worcester. Worcester needs this. Stephen and Susan moved to Worcester and began the current Worcester Jazz Festival in October 2018.