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Jim Widner: 1946-2021

Christian Wissmuller • News • October 5, 2021

Music educator and one of the founding members of the Jazz Educators Network, Jim Widner, passed away suddenly of a heart attack on October 3 2021. He was 75 years old.

Jim was given the opportunity to join his grade school’s orchestra, which provided him an instrument to play. His love of music was fostered years later when he became a student of his highly influential high school band director. These early experiences set Jim on his path in music, which included touring with big bands (Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Buddy DeFranco), teaching (and creating a jazz program at the University of Missouri at St. Louis), owning his own music store with his wife (Pro Music Shop), becoming a product endorser (for Yamaha) and being on the team that established the Jazz Educators Network (JEN). All this thanks to the kindness and guidance of a few music teachers and a grade school that gave him an instrument.

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