Shirtz Receives President's Service Award
On January 5th, Sean Jones, noted jazz artist and president of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), presented Michael with the President's Service Award in Dallas, Texas. The President’s Service Award is given annually by JEN’s President and council of Past Presidents to an individual that has provided continuing service to the organization - given tirelessly of their efforts, resources, expertise, and time - demonstrated commitment to the organization’s mission - and set a true example of altruism.
Working with numerous educational organizations, repertory theatre companies, pops music productions, and serving as both a faculty member and dean with two-year and four-year college institutions, Shirtz cultivated experiences in jazz and world music for new audiences and designed real-life, hands on training for students. His work with Tri-C JazzFest, the Jazz@8 Series, and elevating regional jazz communities through producing jazz club experiences and performance opportunities, educational workshops, and artist-in-schools’ programs have been at the center of his career.
Invited by his longtime mentor and JEN Co-Founder, Lou Fischer, to assist with the organization in 2012, Michael soon embraced the mission of JEN. In 2014 he began working to produce the annual conference and served as the chair of development. He worked with the JEN team to explore new options of fundraising and donor development, implementing the Scholarship Concert, several giving campaigns, and reached the first fundraising goal established by the board. Shirtz temporally served as JEN's acting Managing Director in 2017, helping to implement the current website and management systems as the global entity matured into an official staff organization. Continuing to enhance the performance and production aspects of the conference, Shirtz serves as the associate conference coordinator, member of the development committee, and spearheading engagement and educational initiatives.
Learn more about the Jazz Education Network and how you may become involved in advancing jazz for the next generations.