August ll With Jazz88.3
Excuse me for quoting myself, but the last time I reported on Jazz88.3 FM, in 2010, I described General Manager Mark DeBoskey, as “energized, ebullient and articulate,” exuding over the station’s plans for expansive community programs that focus largely on bringing music experiences to, he said, “new generations.”
Today, much of the station’s outreach has been realized; more has been created, conceived and implemented. Programs include: the “Annual City College Educational Jazz Festival,” for middle and high school students; “Music Matters,” an instrument donation program providing youngsters the opportunity to study music and jazz; an “American Art Form,” which, in conjunction with “Young Audiences,” introduces grade-schoolers to the music and the cultural impact of jazz.
Yet, however energized, ebullient and articulate he may be, DeBoskey, with staff, can’t do it alone. As a further testament to the station’s community impact, he recruited a host of volunteers to help make their August llth fundraiser – “Loving Local Music & Food” – a huge success.
Hosts include restaurateur Ingrid Croce, musicians Holly Hofmann and Mike Wofford, Edible S. D. publishers Riley Davenport and John Vawter, U-T music reviewer George Varga, Amy Finley of Riviera S. D. & Modern Luxury, local chefs (Carnitas’ Snack Shack) Hanis Cavin & Sara Stroud, and the radio station’s Claudia Russell, Ron Dhanifu, Ida Garcia and Gary Beck.
Chefs and mixologists include Sara Polczynski (The Blind Burro), Tommy Fraioli (Sea Rocket Bistro), Matt Gordon (Urban Solace), Nicholas Brune & Adam Hiner (The Local Habit & Eco Caters), Miguel Valdez (The Wellington), Adam Stemmler (Blind Tiger Cocktail Company), and Lauren Williams (Jsix).
Of course, we wanted to know more:
LW: Let’s begin with Shakespeare: “Music soothes, heals, transforms.” Did he get this right? Does this dovetail with Jazz88.3’s mission?
Mark DeBoskey (MDB): Study after study clearly establishes that kids who do music do better. Our mission is to “preserve, present & promote” jazz; a significant part of that comes through education. By presenting opportunities for young people to listen, learn and perform, we are not only fulfilling our mission but establishing a solid forum for young people to achieve the intellectual benefits that music presents.
LW: Your community education programs are impressive. In what schools are these programs held? Do you go to the schools or do kids come to you? Sounds like a lot of management!
MDB: To date, over 21,000 students have participated in “Jazz, an American Art Form,” that comes with learning tools and a teacher guide. We’re partnering with Young Audiences, another non-profit committed to exposing young people to the arts. They handle the administration and co-sponsor the program with us. All of our presentations are in Title 1 schools (Title 1 funds aim to bridge the gap between low-income and other students. The U.S. Dept. of Education provides supplemental funding to local school districts to meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students). The program is brought to these schools for assemblies.
LW: These are extraneous to your on-air business? How are they staffed? Besides your “Loving Local …” event, how are they funded?
MDB: The programs are staffed by volunteers; and, in the case of “Jazz, an American Art Form,” staffed and presented by a stellar group of professional musicians: Rob Thorsen, Gilbert Castellanos, Bob Boss & Richard Sellers.
LW: How hard is it for Jazz88 to keep up with the music kids are into today …i.e. rap – and its often obscene lyrics? Besides jazz, of course, what genres do you promote – or use – in these programs? Do you have to “convert” youngsters to these genres?
MDB: Like us, the young people I’ve spoken with enjoy all kinds of music but, if they are musicians, love the freedom that jazz gives them – to express themselves through improvisation. Anecdotally, there seems to be a growing appreciation of jazz among young people though, like some other musical genres, jazz today appears to be more adventurous and progressive.
LW: Are the kids you work with already musical? Do they need “talent” – ?
MDB: Some are, some aren’t. Some want to explore music, some don’t.
LW: Do you have stats on how many children participate in these programs? How many continue studying, playing music? Any careers made?
MDB: The only stats we have are as follows:
More than 21,000+ have attended “Jazz, an American Art Form;” more than 300 participate annually in our “City College Educational Jazz Festival.” The Community Council in the Schools annually lends over 1,000 instruments to children who don’t have the resources to buy or rent an instrument but want to join their school music program. Approximately 600 of those instruments have come through our annual “Music Matters Instrument Collection Campaign,” with the generous support of Coles Fine Flooring.
LW: In that earlier column, we reported your, then, new programs. What of their success?
MDB: What we think, Is that if even one kid finds his or her way into music and out of trouble, each program must be judged a success. In combination, the entire effort has made a significant difference in our community.
LW: Anyone who knows the value of music to our minds, our souls, will want to help! Tell us about your
August 11 gala. What can your guests expect?
MDB: That’s easy!:
• Great food prepared by celebrity chefs
• Great conversation with wonderful hosts
• Great music with Sue Palmer, Steph Johnson, Rob Thorsen and Gilbert Castellanos
• The satisfaction in knowing that a fun evening is also supporting these vital music education initiatives.
The 2nd Annual Loving Local Music & Food will be held at the Driscoll Wharf on Harbor Drive in Point Loma on August 11. Seats are limited, and available now at http://www.lovinglocalmusiclocalfood.com.
More information about KSDS Jazz 88.3 FM can be found at www.jazz88.org.