Dr. Herb Wong in 1998
Herb Wong: Visionary founder of BUSDâ€™s jazz program
ByÂ Sarah Cline, Jazz Program Director atÂ Berkeley High School
We atÂ Berkeley High SchoolÂ and in BUSD Jazz lost our founding father this Easter. Dr. Herb Wong passed early in the morning Sunday April 20. He was 88.
Wong was the visionary principal of Washington Elementary School who was responsible for hiring Phil Hardymon, Dick Wittington and Bob Chaconas to teach jazz to little kids in the Berkeley Unified School District, way back in the late 1960s. At theÂ time, WongÂ was one of a very few people in the nation who believed in jazz education at the elementary school level â€” 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.
by Sandy Brundage / Almanac (Menlo Park, CA, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley)