Jazz. It can change your life…

By Deanne Savage

I was talking with the wonderful, Tina Franulovich-Martin (Director of the Arts at the Anacortes School District) about how music in public education changed our lives and gave us a “home” in school. Are you like that? Do you have a kid that could use a sense of belonging in school – or in this world, for that matter?

When I was 16, my family made a bold move from Colorado to Oregon. I lived in a family that moved a lot – which made our family close – but always put me in the position of being the new kid on the block and often, shy and not very confident – like a hesitant alien (I know, hard to believe, knowing me these days?!).

I recall, going to the new high school and almost passing out, in fear. Then at lunch, I met Jan Calvin. Jan told me all about jazz choir and how fun it was. I told her I sang, but did not know anything about jazz or choirs –  but she literally pushed me into the choir room to meet the choir director, Gordon Tjernlund. He had me sing a few bars and next thing I knew I was enrolled in Concert Choir and Swing Choir – and I found my “home” at the school and a life’s passion began it’s infancy.

Learning about jazz and swing music was addictive – and this was during the height of the Manhattan Transfer craze. The next year, I moved up to Jazz Choir. This meant rehearsals early in the morning, before school started, and many dedicated hours of practice at home – and I reveled in it. We went to festivals and on a trip to Seattle, Mt. Vernon, WA and Victoria, BC. My family never traveled like that (other than moving!), so seeing new places as a visitor and meeting other people who also loved jazz, was a life changer.

I heard about a Jazz Camp at Edmonds Community College – and got a scholarship to attend the summer after High School. There, I heard Founder Frank DeMiero’s,  Soundsation Jazz and Swing choirs – and I was hooked. I knew, one day, I wanted to be in Soundsation. The next year, I auditioned and got in. Being in that group was a highlight. Traveling all over the United States and Canada and being in a group that was considered one of the top college jazz groups in the nation, was truly life altering.

When I think about Jazz music, and all that it has given me, I realize this:

the more one puts into music, the more one gets back

It is truly a unique human experience that is incomparable to any other. Music elevates  the human experience both for the performer and the listener.

I am mentioning all this, because Anacortes residents have a rare and beautiful gift of the MANIERI ENDOWMENT. Right now, you can fill out a scholarship request to send your student – or yourself for that matter – to a jazz workshop or camp. Do it, and change a life. Do it, and find a home in jazz. Do it, and I promise, you will never regret it.

Here are just a few excellent Jazz Camps and Workshops :

  • Jazz Port Townsend / Centrum –


  • Cornish Advanced Jazz Summer Workshops for HS Students –


  • U of W Summer Jazz Workshop –


  • Central Washington University Jazz Camp –


  • Dee Daniels Vocal Workshop


  • Stanford Jazz Workshops –


  • New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp –


  • Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Studies –


  • Monterey, CA  Jazz Festival and Camp –


  • GRAMMY CAMP – Jazz Session (do you know a talented student who could apply for this one?)
















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