Dennis Tini shares Wayne State music with South African educators, studentsApril 13, 1998
Dennis Tini, chairman of the department of music at Wayne State University, continues the campaign to assist music schools in South Africa that he started in 1992 as president of the International Association of Jazz Educators(IAJE).
Tini and his executive board helped found the IAJE Music Relief Effort to provide critically needed musical instruments and printed music to schools that offered jazz instruction throughout South Africa.
The United States Information Service (USIS) helped sponsor the effort with a South African branch of the IAJE, which Tini launched in Johannesburg in December 1992.Moved by the needs of the music schools which were operating under intolerable conditions with minimal support, he acted.
"These programs had been culturally starved for decades," Tini says. "They had scores of dedicated teachers, but no resources with which to work."
He discussed the project with the IAJE South African President Darius Brubeck (son of Dave Brubeck), who co-chairs the University of Natal Jazz Studies Department with noted jazz artist Hugh Masekela. Tini and IAJE Executive Director Bill McFarlin talked with Pretoria-based USIS cultural attaché David Gilmour, after which the dream of developing a music relief effort was born.
Brubeck got involved in distributing the instruments and educational materials to high schools in a rotational lending system. Gilmour was able to help with the transportation of materials to and within South Africa. The goal was for good students in this underserved country to get training and educational inspiration.
Tini brought Merlin Julie, a student from South Africa, to Wayne State where the student earned an undergraduate degree in music. Julie returned home to teach. Now he is at New York University studying for a master's degree in music therapy before he returns home again.
One of the schools that did benefit from the relief effort, Music Action Peoples Progress, was featured in a Swedish documentary film titled "South Africa MAPP-A Musical Journey." As IAJC president, Tini shared the film with more than 3,000 jazz educators from around the world during its 20th annual International Conference to an overwhelming response. (IJAE has more than 7,500members in 35 countries.)
Former "Tonight Show" drummer Ed Shaughnessy immediately donated two Ludwig drum sets. Other members made commitments to provide musical equipment, including publisher Jamey Aebersold, who donated music and CD playback equipment valued at several thousand dollars.
The IAJE is a federally registered non-profit organization; Tini has been an IAJE board member from 1988-96 and president from 1992-94.
He is offering an opportunity to combine efforts for outreach to South Africa. Individuals and groups with financial resources can help the IAJE to mail and ship teaching materials and instruments to South Africa.
Interested parties with financial or educational resources or those with connections and liaisons that can benefit this project may contact Tini at (313) 577-1800.