The Jazz Studies Program at UW-Eau Claire has brought national attention to UW-Eau Claire with its many awards and well-known alumni. Part of the mission of the program is to keep the tradition of jazz alive and vibrant. Between hosting the oldest and best-known jazz festivals in the nation, maintaining 5 big bands and 11 combos, our jazz program is living its mission and playing a key role in the nationally-recognized cultural renaissance going on in the city of Eau Claire.
Since there is no jazz studies degree to support the jazz studies program, the total operating budget, including adjunct jazz faculty, jazz guest artists and special benefits to students, relies 100% on donor support. Thanks to the generosity of a small but committed group of donors through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the jazz studies program has been able to provide tremendous and invaluable experiences to its students.
Gifts to the UW-Eau Claire Foundation make the crucial difference between a good program and a great one. Here are just a few of the recent opportunities students have had as a result of Foundation funding:
- Private lessons with top jazz musicians around the country
- Travel to China with Robert Baca, director of jazz studies, to serve as jazz ambassadors and assist in the start of a new music program at an art institute
- Guest speakers as part of a Jazz Series to encourage and clinic students entering the field
Rising to the challenge
There are many needs going unmet, such as lack of funds for recording, travel, recruitment scholarships and instructors. Jazz Studies Program has done excellent work to provide a world-class undergraduate jazz experience helping students prepare as performers and educators in the music world on the current funds donated to their area.
In the past, quality jazz studies programs were measured by their Big Band component. Today a jazz program is judged for its improvisational quality as developed in the small chamber combo jazz area. In order to stay current and keep students marketable, UW-Eau Claire recently initiated a combo program. Efficient spending of donor dollars enabled the program to launch, but more funds are now needed to develop a sustainable and high-quality combo program.
An anonymous donor recently challenged jazz studies to expand its base of financial support through the Foundation. The goal of this funding challenge is to double both the number of donors to the program and the size of the program's advancement fund through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation. There are more than 100 students participating in jazz studies at UW-Eau Claire. Your investment in their music education will yield tremendous results both for today's students and future jazz musicians. This is an opportunity to play a role in securing the long-term future of the program.
“The Eau Claire campus of the University of Wisconsin has one of the most well-regarded jazz studies programs in the country.” —New York Times