In the Beginning...
Jam Pak has been a labor of love for Anni and Vincent Beach since April 1994. Prior to that time, the two had long shared an interest in music. Vincent had taught himself saxophone and flute. Anni came from a musical family and was inspired to learn to play mandolin. As a substitute teacher, she often took music into the classroom.
One day two neighborhood children knocked on the Beach's door. They had met Anni in school and had heard her play the mandolin and had sung with her. They asked if she could sing with them again. This was the kernel of inspiration that became the Beach's joint project, the Jam Pak Blues 'N' Grass Neighborhood Band.
The Jam Pak kids began learning on simple one-stringed instruments called "canjos". Since then they have been sponsored by Arizona bluegrass organizations and many individuals who have provided loaned and/or donated instruments, lessons and lesson scholarships.
The band is now 25 members strong with guitars, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, and even a wash-tub bass. Some of the kids now own their own instruments. Many also participate in school music programs, often on a different instrument.
Our first instruments were homemade "canjos".