Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Donald’s mailbag: Why no love for Fresno State jazz?


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.

Responses to "Donald’s mailbag: Why no love for Fresno State jazz?"

ed says:

so, you wrote an article about the collaboration between fcc & the phil, and fresno state expects you to mention something completely unrelated to the article? are you supposed to be the recruiting arm of fsu’s music program as well as doing your actual job as a reporter for the bee? that’s just silly.

honestly, mr. munro, i’m disappointed that you didn’t also mention the connection between the phil, fcc jazz orchestra, fresno state, bulldog athletics, jerry tarkanian, neil diamond, and al jolson. /sarcasm

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