Yesterday was the two year anniversary of our loss of Steve Zegree. And tomorrow at the ACDA National Conference, four WMU Gold Company Alums will comprise a panel discussing the legacy and future of collegiate vocal jazz. In light of that, here’s a cherished memory of my time with Steve. I first shared it in a Facebook remembrance group shortly after his death.
In February of 2000, having finished months of literally LIVING in the studio mixing the Gold Company album While We’re Young, Steve called me in his office. I think it was the week of the massive GC Miller Show. He had the first boxes of both CDs we had produced (the other was a greatest hits CD, SOLID). He opened them with me standing there, and took the first copy of each. He said, “I always send the first copy somewhere special, but I want you to have the second copy of these CDs.” I was so proud of my work on those two CDs, and flattered to be given any copy, let alone one of the very first.
A week or so later, my parents got a package from him. The letter included said, “I told Jed I always send the first copy somewhere special.”
No teacher more profoundly influenced who I am. As a musician, as an educator, as a husband, I would not be me without Steve Zegree.
Thanks to my parents, I now have that letter framed and hanging on the wall of my office – reminding me of the rich legacy I’m a part of, and inspiring me in my interactions with my students.
I was with The Real Group when I learned that Steve was sick, and they recorded this beautiful message for him – what an amazing piece and text.
As Katarina says, it translates: “My home is where my heart is, and it migrates with me.”