Dear CAJ Members,
I am honored to begin my new position as President of the California Alliance for Jazz, having served for several years as Higher Education Representative. I am proud of our accomplishments to date, having worked alongside a skillful crew of service-minded jazz colleagues. In addition to thanking our departing board members for their volunteered service, I extend a personal thanks to our immediate Past President Lisa Butts, who superintended our organization with forward thinking and enthusiasm.
The CAJ mission statement, “to promote and facilitate the growth of jazz through education and performance of jazz music”, will guide our priorities, actions, and responsibilities. Our journey continues with a first-rate lineup of new and returning board members from Northern, Central, and Southern California: President-elect Patrick Langham, Vice-President Curtis Gaesser, Past-President Lisa Butts, Treasurer Barb Catlin, Secretary Dave Beatty, CBDA Representative Barb Shinaver, Vocal Representative Christine Tavares-Mocha, Higher Ed Representative Aaron Lington, High School Representative Keith Johnson, Middle School Representative John Reynolds, Elementary Representative Coralie Prince, Industry Representative Matt Johnson, Historian Jeff Tower, and our new Webmaster and Newsletter Editor, Nick Arocho.
We are sorry to report that Membership Chair, Ed Wolfe will be stepping down from his position. He has faithfully served our organization and will truly be missed. Thank you, Ed! Anyone interested in filling this CAJ Board of Directors position should contact me or one of the members of the CAJ leadership.
This past spring, Lisa Butts and I traveled to Sacramento to participate in a Stand Up 4 Music advocacy event, encouraging members of the California State Senate and Assembly to promote two important bills; AB 2862, the CMEA sponsored bill for updating our Visual And Performing Arts Standards (VAPA) passed in the Assembly 68-0. Now it moves on to the Senate. SB 916, the Theatre and Dance credential bill (TADA), passed unanimously by the Senate, and moves to the Assembly.
The CAJ continues to manage California’s all-state jazz events and we partner with the California Band Directors Association (CBDA) and several other state organizations to organize future California All-State Music Education Conferences (CASMEC). In addition to presenting terrific all-state instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles at last year’s conference, we honored 2016 CAJ Hall of Fame Award recipients Frederick J. Berry, Madeline Eastman, and Perla L. Warren. The CAJ Online Festival and Clinic continues to provide opportunities for groups to submit performance videos for evaluation by leading jazz educators. We also have an impressive Resource Team standing by to advise CAJ members about a myriad of jazz skills. I invite you to log on to cajazz.org to stay up to date with our continued efforts to add value to your CAJ membership. We urge you to become more involved by motivating your students to audition for the all-state jazz ensembles, submitting articles for publication in our newsletter, keeping your dues current and encouraging non-member colleagues to join CAJ. In closing, I hope you will not hesitate to contact me, or any member of our leadership team, with ideas that may better serve California’s jazz students and educators.