Musical Artist, Educator, Music Director, Arranger, Composer
Tell us a little about your background...
I went to a small monastic college (the University of Mary) because they had a great jazz band and got a B.S. in music education. But while I was there, I also fell in love with Gregorian chant. Instead of applying for teaching jobs, I got an M.M. in musicology from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Toronto. For almost 10 years I studied and travelled, but did not play my trumpet.
Then I got a university faculty job that required me to build a music department from scratch—no money, no supplies, no other faculty. I had to play again so I could walk with my students through their jazz studies. I became a teacher, a conductor, an administrator and a player once more. During this decade of teaching, I discovered how sorely I had missed being a musician. Despite the sadness and career risks of leaving academia, I left the university to cultivate the voice inside that has been singing to me quietly all this time...
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What Instrument do you play?
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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."