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End Of Year Message from Founder and Artistic Director: Gilbert Castellanos

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

(image: Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

As we finish up the 2020-2021 season and summer is approaching, I would like to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to each of you for your support during such a challenging year. 

The incredible resilience of our students never ceases to amaze me, but I have been especially touched by what I have seen transpire over the last year. When the pandemic hit, we had to literally lock our classroom doors, turn quickly to online classes, and figure out all of the technology necessary to make it work - on a dime! The students and our faculty stepped up in a big way - they showed up, they figured it out, they worked hard, and they made it happen. We launched our first-ever online series--Jazz Explorations--and our very first summer program. We kept classes going online, upgraded the classroom with all necessary safety measures for in-person classes, moved back online, and then back to the classroom again! Every single student stuck with it and stayed the course. It has truly been awe-inspiring to witness such tenacity. The dedication of our faculty inspires me, and what I see in our students gives me hope for our world. 

I am equally thankful for you, our community, for all of your support. Without you, this program would be nothing more than a dream in my heart yet, even in such uncertainty and through challenging times, my heart is full and I share it with you. We are looking with excitement at the year in front of us, and hope to see you at our first in-person student recital of the 20-21 season on June 12 at Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural center as well as our August 1 fundraiser at Bread & Salt. There is so much great music to share, and we can’t wait to see you.

I wish you a safe and joy-filled summer and can’t wait to be with you all again. Thank you for sharing this journey with us and for helping Keep Jazz Alive!

Gilbert Castellanos Founder and Artistic Director Young Lions Jazz Conservatory

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