Medgar Evers: Please Don't Let Dr. Umola's Jazzy Jazz Festival Die!

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Let’s honor Dr. Umolu's legacy and bring these artists and the community together this summer. It’s a win-win situation for an historically Black college and the public, so let’s get the ball rolling.


July 10, 2012
To: Howard Johnson, Provost
Medgar Evers College

Dear Provost Johnson:

It’s been two weeks since we discussed facilitating the 15th Annual Jazzy Jazz Festival at Medgar Evers College. You took notes, responded favorably, and didn't appear to be disturbed by the finances. We have called your office and left messages several times to no avail.  As you know, we already have more than $3,500.00 in the till, so at this point we’re confused: why the delay? Was it the expense of the graduation ceremonies held at the Javits Center? What did that soak you for?  The ampitheatre on Montgomery St. is the perfect venue for these activities.  World class artists have been entertaining the public for 14 years.  Don’t stop now. Countless numbers of people have repeatedly approached us and asked for the the Jazz!  People even come out in the rain to attend.  Remember, the Friday Night Summer Concert Series called Jazzy Jazz was conceptualized and started by Medgar Evers own tenured professor and Dean of Communications,  Dr. Mary Umolu,  who made her transition in 2007. Dr. Umolu was also involved in initiating the annual  tribute to the ancestors at Coney Island,  starting the radio station  WNYE 91.5 FM  with a grant then lovingly nurturing it into its current state as a successful communications vehicle. She put the same love and tireless effort into the annual concerts and the tribute, which allows students of the college, the Central Brooklyn community and beyond to gather, enjoy and pay homage - establishing  relevant, meaningful traditions that are now a part of the fabric of the College.

So whether it's  on the shores of the beach at Coney Island, or in the heart of  the  Communications Department, or on the campus of Medgar Evers College that stages the concert series,  Dr. Umolu's vision and legacy must not be shunted aside and ignored. Jazz is America’s classical art form -  music of the spirit.  This institution repeatedly acknowledged the significance and prestige of  jazz by conveying honorary doctorate degrees upon  giants of the art, namely drummer Max Roach, pianist Randy Weston, and just last year  pianist Kenny Barron. All it will take is $10,000. There are departments in the school that can provide funding: namely,  the  External Affairs Fund, the Provost's Discretionary fund or the Student Activities Fund (let’s book their band?).  Howard, time is of the essence. The season can still be salvaged with a series during the month of August.  Let’s honor Dr. Umolu's legacy and bring these artists and the community together this summer.  It’s a win-win situation for an historically Black college and the public, so let’s get the ball rolling.

Yours Truly,

Michael Howard
Facilitator for the MEC/Jazzy Jazz Festival


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