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IAJE: Miseducation

Denial is the first of the now well-known stages of death described in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ bestseller On Death and Dying. Her work explores how the … Read More "IAJE: Miseducation"
IAJE President Chuck Owen speaking at the 2008 IAJE Conference
2008 IAJE Conference
NEA Jazz Masters Quincy Jones and David Baker
The 2008 IAJE Conference
Former IAJE Director Bill McFarlin

Denial is the first of the now well-known stages of death described in Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ bestseller On Death and Dying. Her work explores how the prospect of death affected the terminally ill, those who cared for them and their loved ones. The same feelings often play out in the final days of shared experiences like the closure of a business, a campaign or long-running show. So perhaps it’s through this lens that the effects of grief offer an explanation for some of Bill McFarlin’s statements regarding the collapse of the International Association for Jazz Education, an organization he led for more than 20 years: “If I had known, I would have tried to stay and work fervently to try and sustain the organization. It was our life’s work.”

That’s McFarlin in a New York Times article published on April 26. He’s reacting to the firestorm spurred by the news that the IAJE was forced to go out of business and sell off all its assets under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. During an interview with JazzTimes in late May he continued to say he didn’t know the IAJE was on the brink shortly before he stepped down as executive director in January. “That is absolutely what I am communicating,” said McFarlin, who maintains he left the organization for personal reasons, not to avoid the IAJE’s financial collapse. “It is fair to say that I realized the organization would have to make significant adjustments to work its way out of the position that it was in as we have had to do in the past. I certainly did not know the organization was facing its end.”

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