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Jazz Education Network Formed to Fill Void Left by IAJE Collapse

After the startling bankruptcy of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) this spring, the jazz arts community lacked a formal organization to unify jazz education professionals and students. As of June 1, the newly launched Jazz Education Network aims to fill that void.

The Jazz Education Network was launched after two days of meetings in Chicago with more than 35 leaders from the jazz education community. Discussions regarding the need for advancements in jazz education, performance opportunities and audience development resulted in the enthusiastic formation of the JEN.

“There is a burning need to help build a strong community in jazz education,” said Mary Jo Papich, JEN’s inaugural president, in a JEN press release. Papich was slated to be the next president of the International Association for Jazz Education before it disbanded. “There is a void that must be filled. Out goal is to be an essential resource for anyone involved in or with jazz education.”

Papich currently serves as the Fine Arts Chair at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Ill. She will be joined on the JEN board by:

• Lou Fischer, a professor at Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus, Ohio, as vice president

• Bruce Silva, vice president of Buffet Crampon USA, as treasurer

• Julie Traenkenschuh, the director of bands at Woodruff High School in Peoria, Ill., as secretary.

Currently, JEN is filing for non-profit organization status, according to the press release. From there, the network will begin to develop programs and gain membership to pursue its greater goals of unifying the jazz education community.

The mission statement of the organization reads: “The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences.”

The goal of JEN, Papich said, 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.”

“We understand that this is a monumental endeavor,” she said. “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 jazz education.”

Temporary board members of JEN include: Jim Widner (Mo.), Paul Chiaravelle (Ill.), Paris Rutherford (Texas), Rick Kessel (Mass.), Dan Gregerman (Ill.), Ellen Rowe (Mich.), Steve Crissinger (Ohio), Ruben Alvarez (Ill.), Andrew Surmani (Calif.), Michael Kenyon (Ind.), Bob Breithaupt (Ohio) and Jarrard Harris (Ill.).

Originally Published