West Chester University student and music education major Renee Fabian is playing a new tune after being named one of the five winners of Jazz Alliance International’s “Jazz Up Your Campus” essay contest. Fabian, a multi-talented saxophonist, flautist and clarinetist from Kintersville, PA, participated in the nationwide contest. The contest asked participants to submit an essay introducing young diverse populations on university campuses to jazz by compiling its’ major elements. The five winners were honored at the 33rd Annual International Association for Jazz Education Convention in New York City on Jan. 11-14. The winners were from various parts of the country and their essays focused on how to make jazz available to general student populations.
Fabian began playing the saxophone in the fourth grade and the flute and clarinet in high school. She made the decision to play multiple instruments due to her private teacher’s advice that some parts may call for more than one. A member of more than ten musical ensembles including WCU’s prestigious Statesman Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band, Fabian felt she would make a good participant. “I found the contest and thought, hey, this would be a cool thing to do, to go to New York and participate in this.”
Fabian has also cooperated in workshops with jazz great James Moody at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pa., as well as at the 2002 Mellon Jazz Festival in Philadelphia. A passionate music lover, Fabian wants students to “give jazz a try,” because she feels it is a very personal sound that you can connect with.
The five winners will receive a one-year paid internship with Jazz Alliance International to help efforts on campuses to promote jazz and broaden audiences for the music. Fabian says, “I was glad when I won because it’s a cool project and it’s something I really like to do.” In the future, she would like to combine music and education because she feels jazz can benefit teachers and students. Fabian interprets it well in her winning essay saying, “I urge everyone to give jazz an earnest try, because you might very well find that there is something in the music that really speaks to you.