Campus: CSU Hayward -- April 23, 2003

Dave Eshelman Is Cal State Hayward's "Outstanding Professor" of 2002-2003


Dave Eshelman, professor of music at California State University, Hayward since 1985, has been selected by his faculty colleagues as the university's "Outstanding Professor" for 2002-2003.

Eshelman, the Music Department's director of jazz studies, is a trombonist who performs, conducts, arranges, and composes modern big band music.

"It is a great pleasure and a distinguished honor to be named the recipient of the 'Outstanding Professor Award' of the 2002-2003 academic year," said Eshelman, 55 on April 25, whose leadership has led to many awards each year for the Cal State Hayward jazz band. "This recognition allows me an opportunity to extend appreciation to the university for the supportive environment in which I have been able to work. The encouragement I have received from the Music Department, the College of Arts, Letters, and Social Science, and university administration has been most helpful in my pursuit of self development."

"Dave Eshelman is an outstanding example to his students and colleagues on the faculty," said Norma Rees, Cal State Hayward president. "His accomplishments in the world of music are of tremendous influence to those who study under him. That's what a great professor's job is all about."

In his 18 years at CSUH, Eshelman has built the jazz program into one of regional, statewide, and national recognition. Against other collegiate programs during the past 10 years, the Cal State Hayward Jazz Ensemble has taken first place awards in 75 percent of the competitions it has entered. The ensemble has recorded three CD projects that have attained national recognition and it has performed by invitation in five state music educators conferences, a national jazz festival in Alabama, two jazz educators international conferences, and other major jazz festivals in Switzerland, Italy, and Brazil.

During the past decade, Eshelman has spearheaded fund-raising projects that have raised more than $150,000 to provide students with experience similar to those of professional musicians and to travel for the various international, national, and regional competitions.

As a composer and arranger, Eshelman has written more than 75 original pieces for big band style music and has arranged an equal number of songs. In the weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he wrote a special arrangement of "America the Beautiful". His compact three-minute interpretation of the patriotic song was distributed free of charge to the music or band departments of more than 200 Northern California colleges, high schools, and junior high schools inlate 2001.

Eshelman said he felt compelled to do something following the terrorist attacks but wasn't sure what that should be.

"For a few days (after the attacks) I struggled with the question, 'What can I do?'" he said. "My goal was to write something distinctive that goes beyond whatever works."

Eshelman said he wanted to create an "artistic twist" to the tune, yet make it simple enough to be performed and appreciated at various levels of musical sophistication."

"My hope has been that I could write something that would be sophisticated enough to interest more experienced musicians yet simple enough for the less experienced musician performing in a junior high school band," Eshelman noted.

The music professor acknowledged that he had the full support of the university's department of music. "I was moved by (Eshelman's) strong feelings of love of country and the unique way he felt he was able to help in contributing positively to our nation's healing," said Timothy M. Smith, chairman of the CSUH department of music. "It was not difficult for me to decide to help him with music department resources."

His former CSUH students have gone on to work with such diverse musical artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme, Santana, Joan Baez, Eddie Palmieri, Huey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

His load of class subjects includes jazz theory and improvisation, jazz arranging, and music business. As a professional trombonist, Eshelman has performed at major jazz festivals in the United States and Europe, including the San Francisco, Monterey, and Playboy jazz festivals. He has received critical acclaim in leading the Bay Area's Jazz Garden Big Band for the past 25 years.

Prior to joining the CSUH music faculty, Eshelman was director of bands at San Jose City College 1974-85 and was a music instructor at Los Angeles City College from 1972-74. He earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Miami in 1970 and his master in arts in 1972 from CSU Northridge.

Eshelman and Robbie, his wife of 32 years, reside in Fremont. They have a grown daughter, Dawn, who is an actress living in New York City.


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