I received a thoughtful note from Brigid de Jong, a Fresno State music professor:
Thank you for the fine article about our local players participating in the Fresno Phil’s pops concert on Saturday. Jazz is alive and well in Fresno.
I was disappointed, however, that you didn’t mention the connection that exists between Fresno City College and Fresno State. The fine teaching that the students receive at FCC can segue into a degree with a jazz emphasis at Fresno State, headed by Alan Durst (whose name you did mention, but perhaps you didn’t know he developed and runs our instrumental jazz major.)
Since you made a point of acknowledging the strong jazz program at FCC, I think it would have been good to point out that our local students can continue that fine beginning by earning a BA in music with an emphasis in instrumental jazz. As it is a relatively new option, this would have been a great opportunity to inform the community about it.
Thank you for your extremely thorough and thoughtful coverage of the arts in our area. You do the community a great service by constantly showing the people here that the arts are alive and well in the Fresno community.
My response is after the jump.
My response: It was not my intent in any way to slight Fresno State’s fine jazz program. When I heard about local jazz players joining the Fresno Philharmonic for the “Rat Pack” concert, I knew I wanted a good local angle. With five of the eight local jazz players joining the Phil having City College connections, I decided to go with that storyline. Adding to my decision was the significance of the Fresno City College Jazz Composers Orchestra, which seems to me is making a big impact. I simply didn’t have the room or time to make it into a story about all of the Fresno area’s jazz scene in general.
Also, I think there’s a perception in the music community that Fresno State gets lots of ink and recognition for its music program. I think it’s important for people to know about the good things going on in terms of the music scene at Fresno City College.
That said, I appreciate your note highlighting the strengths of Fresno State jazz. It’s great students can earn a BA in music with an emphasis in instrumental jazz. Sounds like there are very good things happening in terms of jazz education in this area.