From the streets of New Orleans, to the clubs of Chicago, to the halls of the Barbara Mertes Center of Las Positas, jazz music is known for saving itself by constantly changing. It’s lasted for decades while still constantly evolving, preserving the classic sound while updating and refreshing itself in every new environment.
With a catalog that contains energizing dance swings and soul-touching blues, the versatility of jazz has lasted against the test of time. With a steady number of students picking up jazz studies across America, it can be said that the future of jazz is bright.
The jazz program at Las Positas is no exception to this trend. The program has gained so much traction that in the upcoming fall semester of 2019, for the first time, the music department will be offering a career certificate for jazz studies. “We have a very strong vocal jazz program and instrumental combos,” said Rosefield.
She’s not alone in thinking that. Vocal East, the group of jazz students under the instruction of LPC instructor Ian Brekke, won first place in their category at the Reno Jazz Festival on the weekend of April 26, 2019. The award was the first ever top prize win for the LPC chorus.
The certificate was formed in conjunction with the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, Calif. The classes in the program will transfer right into the CJC’s bachelor degree program, pending a successful audition from individual students. The agreement guarantees LPC students an audition as well as direct articulation of the classes taken. The classes at CJC are small, with only 120 students admitted into the program per class.
CJC’s President and Dean of Instruction Susan Muscarella, Ph.D., told The Independent, “We’re thrilled to have a partnership like this.” Her enthusiasm was underscored by the reputation that LPC music has created for itself, saying, “We know that the students coming from Las Positas College already meet a high academic standard.”
Cindy Browne Rosefield, Ian Brekke and Daniel Marschak are key jazz faculty members at Las Positas. The three instructors have been focused on growing the program. Throughout the year, jazz ensembles, such as the Vocal East jazz choir, have given students the opportunity to compose and showcase their own original pieces while also building a connection between LPC and the community of music lovers outside the campus.
When admitted into the programs, students will be given partial scholarships as they continue on in their studies. Furthermore, Marshack’s hard work has seen that students, upon completion of the Jazz certificate, will have also completed requirements needed for an associate degree.
As more and more students march toward this opportunity, Rosefield hopes this new partnership will help the Jazz Program continue to grow and strive.
“They’re very creative students and they’re hungry to learn all the styles of Jazz,” said Rosefield.