The Music Department may be a small building on campus, but they are taught lessons from all across the globe. And more music students will get the opportunity to have a global education with the Jordan Maler Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Music Scholarship Foundation. 

Music senior Davis Reid Zamboanga, who concentrates in trombone and composition, and music senior Marianna Pallas, who specializes in the French Horn, attended Dublin Brass Week. The annual brass conference brings in world renowned musicians to teach masterclasses and specialized music classes, according to their website. 

“Seeing these people coming from orchestras that you know, they’re the best of the best and having them teach you is like, ‘Woah, I could be like that,’” Pallas said. 

Music sophomore Mady Frei, who specializes in vocals, has never attended a conference, but went to Kenya through a music culture exchange with the choir director. She said experiences like the one she had in October showed a different way of music appreciation. 

“We got to see our choir director at work and working with other directors, which was awesome,” Frei said. “And it was very interesting to see how [other cultures] interpreted music and how they attacked different pieces compared to us.” 

Although it is not mandatory, the music department encourages students to attend. However, the conferences and choir trips, however, comes with a price and is paid for by students out of pocket. 

Zamboanga said the brass festival he attended cost $400 per person, not including travel and housing.

Zamboanga said he asked the music department for help with fees, however they did not have a scholarship dedicated to summer programs. 

Now, students will have the opportunity to get conference fees partially or fully covered by Jordan Maler Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Music Scholarship Foundation. The scholarship was created in honor of Cal Poly alumnus Jordan Maler who passed away of natural causes Nov. 13.

“I think it’s really [about] identifying what the different types of opportunities are and amplifying it in a way so that people understand that its within reach,” Maler’s mother Renee said. 

After Maler’s passing, his mother, reached out to Music Department Chair India D’Avignon to find a way to honor her son’s love of music and festivals.

“My thinking of this [scholarship] was really because of my discussion with [Zamboanga] because he was talking about a need,” D’Avignon said. “We have to have something to help our students in the summer who want to boost their professional opportunities.” 

Renee said Jordan made wonderful connections during his time at Cal Poly and he and his friends from freshman year remained close throughout college and after graduating. Renee Maler | Courtesy
Renee said Jordan made wonderful connections during his time at Cal Poly and he and his friends from freshman year remained close throughout college and after graduating. Renee Maler | Courtesy

Maler graduated from Cal Poly with a business administration degree in 2015. He went on to work for Facebook and Pinterest before passing away in his sleep from natural causes at age 26.

Maler, who grew up in San Ramon, came from a family of Cal Poly alumni. Two of his uncles and his parents attended Cal Poly.

“I am so honored and grateful for the 26 years I had with him because he always made me want to be a better person,” his mother said in November. “If I could live my life even half as well as he did and make other people feel half as well as he did, then I will have done the right thing.”

Renee started a Facebook donation page with the goal of raising $25,000 for the fund. Currently, the fund has $21,700. 

The scholarship would be a recurring scholarship for 1 to 2 students each year. The amount given for each student is yet to be determined as the fund continues to grow, according to D’Avignon. She said they hope to begin the scholarship program for Summer 2020. 

Renee said a Jordan Maler Orfelea School of Business Scholarship is also in the works. 

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