July, 2008

Mike Lawson • Archives • July 15, 2008

Jazz Education Network Launched
The Jazz Education Network (JEN) was formed on June 1, 2008. The association will be focused on advancing and expanding jazz education, jazz performance opportunities, and jazz audiences.

More than 35 leaders from the jazz education community and its affiliated industries gathered in suburban Chicago to discuss the need for an organization geared to serve professionals and students in the jazz education field. The meetings were facilitated by Gene Wenner of Arts & Education Consultants, Bob Breithaupt of JazzArts Group and Matt Carter of Music Crossroads. After two days of discussion and deliberations, the group enthusiastically agreed to form Jazz Education Network.

“The outcome of this meeting was clear,” said Mary Jo Papich, president of JEN. “There is a burning need to help build a strong community in jazz education. There is a void that must be filled. Our goal is to be an essential resource for anyone involved in or with jazz education.”

The mission statement for the organization states: The JazzEducation Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences.

“We understand that this is a monumental endeavor,” said Papich, “but it is vitally important this work be done. Collaborating together, our goal is to support a strong and well-equipped community that meets the needs of 21st-century education. We will strive to be inclusive, rather than exclusive. As a result, jazz education can have a positive impact on the lives of many more students of all backgrounds. We will work to identify and inspire new audiences. Our goal is to help focus the creative power, grace and beauty of jazz that expands far beyond playing the music and into what makes a life well lived.”

In addition to electing Papich as president, the Network’s initial temporary board will include Lou Fischer as vice president, Bruce Silva as treasurer and Julie Traenkenschuh as secretary.

Papich is the Fine Arts chair at Highland Park High School and Focus on the Arts festival director in Highland Park, Ill. Fischer is a leading jazz educator who serves as professor of music at Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus, Ohio. Silva is vice president of Buffet Crampon USA in Jacksonville, Fla., and Traenkenschuh is director of bands at Woodruff High School in Peoria, Ill.

The following agreed to hold office as board members until after the first meeting of the membership:

Jim Widner (Mo.)
Steve Crissinger (Ohio)
Paul Chiaravelle (Ill.)
Ruben Alvarez (Ill.)
Paris Rutherford (Texas)
Andrew Surmani (Calif.)
Rick Kessel (Mass.)
Michael Kenyon (Ind.)
Dan Gregerman (Ill.)
Bob Breithaupt (Ohio)
Ellen Rowe (Mich.)
Jarrard Harris (Ill.)

The Network is in the process of filing for non-profit organization status. Once complete, it will begin the work of developing programs, events and attracting membership.

A Web site will be up shortly at that will provide organizational updates and membership information. There will be a section requesting input from potential membership, as JEN will be a member driven organization.

For more information, please contact Mary Jo Papich ([email protected]) or Lou Fischer ([email protected]).

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