Honoring the memory of John Stites and his passion for jazz music

Honoring the memory of John Stites and his passion for jazz music

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Kalamazoo Music School / Jazz & Creative Institute

A Thank-You Message from Kalamazoo Music School / Jazz & Creative Institute

Posted March 2, 2022

We recently received the following note from Benje Daneman with the Kalamazoo Music School / Jazz & Creative Institute:

The Kalamazoo Music School / Jazz & Creative Institute sends its heartfelt thanks to the John Stites Jazz Artist Organization for their generous gifts to our school from John’s personal musical collection including percussion/drum equipment, music books, and jazz musician wall art.

Personally, as a young jazz student in Kalamazoo, I learned countless lessons in his studio over many years. These lessons were never taught in the traditional sense, but in true jazz fashion – mentorship and real-world experiences. John always took note of, educated, and showed the ropes of the professional recording world to the young budding jazz musicians of the community. This gift to our community makes perfect sense as many more “budding musicians” will regularly feel the life-giving energy from his instruments, learn about a jazz master through a photo on a wall, or educate themselves because of one of his books.

Thank you again for your generosity that will continue John’s legacy not only through the amazing financial gifts to our community, but also for these smaller, but very hands-on, gifts that will touch many students here every day for years to come.

Benje Daneman

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John was kind and patient with great attention to details. He loved good music of all sorts...

Joel Mabus

The John Stites Jazz Awards (JSJA) are funded by the John Stites Jazz Artist Organization.

The organization funds advanced studies for emerging and established professional jazz musicians, as well as personal development projects which enhance their career opportunities.