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Cuesta College to pay tribute to musical educator 

Concert to celebrate 50-year legacy of Warren Balfour

– Cuesta College announces a tribute concert dedicated to Warren Balfour, a “true luminary in music education,” according to the school. This special event will be held at the Cultural and Performing Arts Center on Cuesta College’s San Luis Obispo campus on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It will celebrate Balfour’s 50-year legacy of enriching students’ lives and creating a vibrant music scene at Cuesta College and throughout San Luis Obispo County.

“Warren’s contributions to music and education at Cuesta College are immeasurable,” said Director of Jazz Studies Ron McCarley. “He has inspired and nurtured countless students, shaping our community’s music landscape. This tribute concert expresses our deep gratitude and admiration for his 50 years of unwavering dedication.”

Since he arrived at Cuesta College in 1972, Balfour has been an educator and a driving force behind the creation of great music, with his impact spanning multiple disciplines and generations of students. Today, he remains an active community programs instructor of the SLO County Trumpet Alliance and an enthusiastic member of the CPAC Council.

“Warren brought his love of jazz to Cuesta and, with his boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm, grew a program in the rural 1970s county that soon became renowned throughout California,” said John Knutson, Director of Vocal Studies. “He was an early adopter of vocal jazz music education, and Cuesta College was one of the first in the state to have vocal jazz ensembles. Warren was instrumental in hiring the faculty that we currently have at Cuesta, who for 20+ years has been carrying on his vision of musical excellence in jazz.”

Ron McCarley curates the concert, which features a lineup including the award-winning Cuesta Jazz Ensemble and vocal jazz group Voce. Balfour started the jazz ensemble, and they will play old favorites and exciting new pieces, including one by Robert Washut dedicated to Warren entitled “La Declaración Balfour.” Additionally, a one-night-only legacy big band composed of Balfour’s former students, cohorts, and local musicians will play some of his favorite music.

“Known as a true jazz gem on the Central Coast, Warren’s exceptional reputation as a teacher extended far beyond San Luis Obispo County,” said George Stone, Director of Audio Technology. “For decades, his ensembles at Cuesta were recognized and admired by the best educators in southern California. I even remember seeing his group on the cover of the Jazz Educators back in 10th grade! Come join us as we celebrate his legacy and pay tribute to the brilliant man who contributed so much expertise and vision to the Cuesta Music Department.”

Tickets are priced at $10-17, which includes parking in Lot 2A. To secure general admission seats, visit Concert proceeds are split between the Cuesta Jazz Ensembles and student scholarships. Additionally, patrons can support the Cuesta Jazz program by donating at checkout.


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