Arts & Events

Press Release: Berkeley High Jazz Alumni Concert Honors Dr. Herb Wong June 1st

Saturday May 24, 2014 - 10:27:00 AM

Berkeley High Jazz Program alumni will honor the late Dr. Herb Wong, father of Berkeley School Jazz Programs, at the 3rd Annual Berkeley High School Jazz Alumni Concert on June 1st. Some of their finest musicians, spanning decades of Berkeley High Jazz, will celebrate his life. 

The concert will be held on Sunday June 1st from 2-5PM at the beautiful Coventry Grove, a private outdoor performance space in Kensington. Music director for the Berkeley High Jazz Alumni All-Stars will be Charles Hamilton, who helmed the storied BHS Jazz program from 1981 through 2009. 

While the final lineup for the Alumni All-Stars is still shaping up, performers include multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum, saxophonists Bennett Friedman and Hitomi Oba, bassoonist Paul Hanson, percussionist Josh Jones, trombonist Sarah Cline, and surprise guests. The event benefits the Berkeley High Jazz Program. In addition, current Berkeley High advanced combos, one just back from performing at the Monterey Jazz Festival, will perform sets with guest alumni sitting in. 

A posthumous award will be presented from the City of Berkeley, honoring Dr. Wong’s inspiration to generations of Berkeley jazz musicians. An accomplished jazz journalist, historian, critic, recording artist, and concert producer, Dr. Wong may be best beloved as a founding father of the Berkeley Schools Jazz program. Dr. Wong was the visionary principal of Washington Elementary School who hired Phil Hardymon, Dick Whittington and Bob Chacona to teach jazz to Berkeley Unified School District kids in the late 1960s. “He was one of a very few people in the nation then who believed in jazz education from the elementary school level,” commented current Berkeley High Jazz Program Director Sarah Cline, “-- as music education, as a part of the civil rights movement, and as a way of propagating a truly democratic and artistic spirit among those of us in the next generation.” 

All ages are welcome. Tickets are $20 at the door or through and Advance tickets are recommended. 

Doors open at 1PM. Carpooling is encouraged. Allow time to park and walk. “No Parking” signs are strictly enforced