By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin
Jeff Bellaire practices singing in preparation for Jazz Camp.
Jeff Bellaire is 61 years old and going to camp this summer.
“I can’t wait,” says Bellaire, a network microcomputer specialist for Hayward Unified School District and president of the Association of Educational Office Technical Employees.
This classified employee loves to sing, and he will be attending Jazz Camp West for eight days in woodsy La Honda for the second year in a row. Fellow happy campers will include other vocalists, instrumentalists and dancers of all abilities who will attend workshops, receive personalized instruction, perform in concerts and engage in late-night jam sessions.
“It’s a very wonderful community of people coming together to support other people doing their musical thing,” relates Bellaire. “You have 250 people ranging from teens to geezers like me. It’s an island of music. And everyone makes tons of friends.”
Working with computers all day is serious business, and it’s great to have an outlet for self-expression and creativity, says Bellaire, who sang in bands when he was younger but gave it up to make a dependable living. But when he heard about Jazz Camp West from a friend, he realized how much he missed music.
“I looked at the clock, realized time is running out, and decided it was time to get back into music,” he says. “Also, I think it’s important for everybody to go outside of their normal envelope once in a while.”
Last year, after returning from camp, he felt rejuvenated from the experience.
“It opens you up,” he says. “I let down my barriers. I felt like a changed person. And I can’t wait for that to happen again.”