Founders Anni and Vincent Beach in 1996
Anni and Jam Pak
In 1994, Anni Beach serving as a substitute teacher in Chandler, Arizona, took her mandolin and new-found passion for bluegrass music to every classroom in which she taught. Following a day of teaching at Galveston Elementary a block from her home, two little boys knocked on her door asking if she would play and sing some more with them. She wanted to do something good for her bread and butter, immigrant- filled neighborhood and with the support of her husband Vincent, Jam Pak was born the very next week with six little kids in the front yard.
It quickly grew to numbers up to thirty children each week. They made their own instruments, learned to sing lots of bluegrass and old-time songs and took their happy show to nursing homes, the Chandler library, and eventually attracted the attention of the Arizona bluegrass community. After four years of playing canjos and harmonicas and singing their hearts out, donations of bluegrass instruments began arriving. Coaches came, and soon after the name expanded to Jam Pak Blues 'N' Grass Neighborhood Band. The band was invited to their first bluegrass festival in 1998 and became a hit.
The band has evolved over the years into a music community. Enfolded in the love of music, community, food, travel, and love itself, this unique band of all ages, races, and walks of life makes bluegrass music. In the home of Anni Beach (Vincent, the Father of Jam Pak, passed away in 2010) they teach each other, gather twice a week, practice, dance, entertain, and at the center maintain the singular goal to make themselves and others happy with their music.
Jam Pak has small bands within this big band and young people hone their band skills, make their own arrangements, and also perform. These small bands include Cabin John, Morning fire, Fair Black Rose, and The Would Bees. Professional level bands have emerged from Jam Pak including Cisco & the Racecars and Greenwood Sidee.
Jam Pak had to make a critical move in 2017 in order to make the band sustainable now and for the future. The band became a Non-profit 501c3 organization and qualifies as an Arizona Charitable Organization. Susan Anderson, a mentor and encourager of Jam Pak, made it clear over the years that Jam Pak must grow and risk.
Beach House Reviews are held several times a year in the unique backyard setting complete with a stage, canteen, and lighting. Jam Pak Productions produces small festivals and other musical adventures such as The Bluegrass Camp for Tempe Festival of the Arts. Jam Pak Sunflower Publishing has published a book titled, "Home Grown Bluegrass-A Guide to Making People Happy with Music". An active website is maintained as well as an e-mail list, some marketing through friends of Jam Pak, and most of all fans and families who support and love what Jam Pak means to them.