Dennis steps away from the microphone after 27 years

When Dennis Koks retired from teaching art at Kiama High, he offered to run a program on jazz for community radio station VOX FM.

Twenty seven years later, the 88 year old did his final episode of Jazz Alive just before Christmas.

During that time Dennis has indulged his love of jazz with a loyal audience.

“Right from the start I wanted to use it as an opportunity to learn something and share my passion.

“I was always amazed and gratified at how often people rang in to say how much they appreciated it.”

During the 27 years, his show won two national broadcasting awards, one for an interview Dennis did with his idol, American pianist Bill Evans.

“I regret never being able to catch up with Miles Davis, but talking with Bill Evans made up for it,” he says.

Dennis used to carry his recording equipment with him on his overseas trips, in the hope of bringing exclusives back for his listeners.

Each episode took three to four hours of research and planning, as well as the live broadcast time.

He says the logistics of relying on his wife to get up to Wollongong and a desire to spend more time with his family caused him to finally step away from the microphone.

“There is a sadness involved in pulling the plug, but it was time to step back.”

Dennis and Hazel moved to Kiama 59 years ago, and have been active members of the community ever since.

Dennis was one of the founders of the Kiama Jazz Club, and instigators of its Festival. His posters, done in the art room at Kiama High, have become iconic.

He is now content being an enthusiastic member of the Kiama Probus Men’s Choir and organising the occasional concert for visiting musicians (see the latest of these to the right).



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