Choral Director Retires After 23 Years With Fresno City College


Photo by: Krystle Nozartash

Julie Dana and her singers performing at the Women’s Day event in the speech area of Fresno City College.

Story By: Valorie Lo, Reporter

The Fresno City College alumni, Julie Dana has been the choral director at FCC since 1999 and has decided to retire from her position after 23 years.

When Dana received the offer to replace her old choral director at FCC, she was still teaching in Orange County.

“I didn’t think I was ever coming back to Fresno, but it was like coming home,” Julie Dana said.

Julie Dana then later met her husband, Mike Dana at FCC and married in spring 2003. “I have never seen anyone as focused and passionate about making sure her students have meaningful experiences with music,” Mike Dana said.

Originally, Dana’s plan was to retire back in 2021 but decided against it because she didn’t want to do it without her students, in which she calls her kids. She decided that this year was a good time to take a step back post-pandemic since classes were back in person.

Although she doesn’t know who will be replacing her in the upcoming fall, she is hoping that the new director will bring a new sound to the choral department.

She’s hopeful that the department will be in good hands with whoever is taking her place and will continue to spread the love of music. “I’m ready to see the program grow in new and creative ways,” Julie Dana said.

Julie Dana is unsure of what her plans are after she retires but she hopes to still stay active in the community. “If I get the chance to teach a class again or work with people’s choirs, I would love that,” she said.

The one thing Julie Dana will miss the most after she retires is her students, “These kids are my family so not having them with me is going to be weird,” Julie Dana said.

Throughout the 23 years, Julie Dana has had her share of memorable moments with her students, but the one that stood out to her the most was a trip to France in 2016.

The students performed “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” in Nice, France in remembrance of those who passed days before due to a terror attack.

An exciting moment though for both Julie Dana and Mike Dana was the last trip the choral ensemble had in 2019 to Carnegie Hall in New York. Mike Dana volunteered to sing with the choral group while Julie Dana was conducting. “I have never been more proud of her,” Mike Dana said.

Julie Dana has one of her last two performances this semester on Mar. 25, 2022, where the City Singers have been invited alongside other California Community College ensembles to perform at a Cal State University Fullerton festival.

Julie Dana’s last concert, “Sing” takes place on May 6, 2022, which includes the City Singers, college choir and FCC choral alumni.

“Follow your passions. You can be whoever you want to be,” Julie Dana said as her final note to all of her previous and current students.