Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monterey Jazz Festival honors Paul Vieregge

Monterey Jazz Festival Honors Paul Vieregge, MJF Stage Manager Emeritus, With Internship In His Name
"Paul Vieregge Production Internship" To Be Awarded To Music Student For Summer Position With MJF
MJF Salutes Vieregge’s 51-Year Association With Festival After His Passing On March 30, 2009

The Monterey Jazz Festival will honor its own in 2009 by renaming a street and establishing an internship fund honoring of the life and accomplishments of Paul Vieregge, the 86-year-old Stage Manager Emeritus who passed away on March 30, 2009 after a battle with cancer.

The pathway running behind the Arena will now be known during the annual three-day celebration of jazz as Paul Vieregge Way in celebration of Mr. Vieregge’s monumental contributions to the look, feel and sound of the Festival throughout its fifty-two year history.

In addition, an internship will be established in 2009, funding a yearly administrative and production position for college-aged students. Known as The Paul Vieregge Production Internship, the program will consist of a position and stipend given to a deserving student who will assist the staff of the Monterey Jazz Festival during the summer months and through the Festival. Encapsulating the spirit of mentorship and on-the-job education, The Paul Vieregge Production Intern will be educated - in real-time - in the needs, process, and technical aspects of live music presentation and behind-the-scenes action on some of the most legendary stages in the jazz world.

For over 50 years Paul Vieregge served as the heart and soul of the Monterey Jazz Festival,” said Tim Jackson, General Manager of MJF. “His ability to ‘set the stage’ for the artist to have a meaningful relationship with our audience is one of the main reasons that Monterey has become legendary as one of the world's great jazz happenings. We look forward to keeping the artistic vision of Paul Vieregge alive and a cornerstone of our organizational philosophy.”

Mr. Vieregge was born in Vallejo, California in 1922, and graduated from the College of the Pacific in Stockton in 1950 after serving in the Navy during World War II. He became involved in behind the scenes and the technical side of college theater productions, and after graduation, he worked at NBC’s KRON-TV in San Francisco before moving to ABC’s KGO-TV, where he handled stage design, lighting, and management for the locally-produced shows. It was at KGO in 1952 where he met Jimmy Lyons, the future founder and General Manager of the Monterey Jazz Festival, who had a live TV program that introduced the then-fledgling audiences of television to jazz musicians through performance and interviews. Already living in Big Sur, when Lyons and co-founder, San Francisco Chronicle jazz critic Ralph Gleason staged the first festival in 1958, Vieregge was recruited to do the stage lighting. Almost immediately, Vieregge replaced the Stage Manager, coordinating and executing the technical aspects of the Arena Stage. He remained in that position for the next thirty-five years, until he retired in 1992. Vieregge continued to attend the festival and offered his guidance and knowledge to the younger staff and crew. Mr. Vieregge also founded and acted as General Manger of the annual Big Sur Jazz Festival in 1995, presenting a three-day festival in the mold of MJF each year during the spring until he retired in 1999 at age 76. 2009 will mark the first year in the history of the Monterey Jazz Festival that Mr. Vieregge’s presence will be absent.

For MJF/52, The Paul Vieregge Production Internship will be facilitated through the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2009, Berklee and the Monterey Jazz Festival will celebrate thirteen years of partnership, which includes the presentation of the full-tuition Jimmy Lyons scholarship to Berklee to a gifted musician from California; a student intern assigned to work with the Festival's staff and production team gaining valuable real-world training and experience during the summer months and through the Festival, now called the Vieregge Production Internship; and the always highly anticipated performance by a group from Berklee. Each year, the college selects their finest students to perform at Monterey in a group called the Berklee-Monterey Quartet.

The Monterey Jazz Festival is dedicated to perpetuating the uniquely American form of music known as jazz by producing performances that celebrate the legacy and expand the boundaries of jazz; and by presenting year-round local, regional, national, and international jazz education programs. The Monterey Jazz Festival is a nonprofit organization and has donated its proceeds to musical education since its inception in 1958.

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