Fullerton College Remembers
February 11, 1929- April 19,2008
Remembering a Friend
Richard Cruz was a musician. He had two outlets for his talent... performing and teaching. Most of his Local 7 brothers and sisters knew him as a Dixieland Jazz trumpet player. His versatility as a player extended to various big bands and many seasons as Principal Trumpet of the Pageant of the Masters Orchestra, directed by the late Vic Schoen.
Richard's students at Fullerton College were the beneficiaries of his exuberance for all forms of music performance and theory. He established the study of American popular music, which today is taught as The History of Jazz and is one of Fullerton College's most popular classes. His fellow musicians of the faculty enjoyed the outlet Richard provided when he formed the Artisan Brass Quintet.
In addition to his own in-demand Dixieland band, The Fullerton STrutters, Richards' love of this style of music lead to the establishment of the Dixieland band known as the Lemon Street Stompers as an accredited class at the college. This band developed to the point where, under Richards's tutelage, it was in the top three for six years at the college Dixieland Band competition, which took place for seven years at the International Association of Jazz Educators convention.
After thirty years of inspiring musicians at Fullerton College, Richard announced his retirement in 1997. His colleagues coaxed a retirement recital from him. The success and pleasure of this performance resulted in his postponing retirement for another two years, which would give him the opportunity to perform another recital. This he did in 1999, finally walking away from his beloved professorship.
From jazz festival to the classroom, Richards' passion for sharing the delights of music has enriched the lives of countless observers of his joyous spirit. Those of us who remain will serve ourselves and humanity by striving to fill the void created by his passing.
by Frank Amoss
The Score, Orange County Musician's Organization, 2nd quarter 2008