Fresno City Choral Director Holds Her Last Concert and Retires

Fresno City College Choral Director Julie Dana, performing the SING concert with her students in the Old Administration Building Auditorium.

Photo by: Jayronan Vanthy

Fresno City College Choral Director Julie Dana, performing the “SING” concert with her students in the Old Administration Building Auditorium.

Fresno City College’s Director of Choral Activities Julie Dana held her final concert “SING!” in the Old Administration Building auditorium on Friday, May 6. 

Dana has been teaching at FCC for 23 years and in her final concert marking her retirement as an instructor, she welcomed over 25 choral alumni who she taught to perform at the event.

Dana states to her alumni that they will always be her kids, as she voices her gratitude at the concert to all of her family, colleagues, students, and her husband Mike Dana, fearing that it would be the longest section of the concert.

“Thank you for always being my support system. For letting me vent, for being my travel companions, for crying with me, celebrating with me, for bringing chocolate. Thank you for your unconditional love.” says Dana.

To continue her legacy at the college, Dana will be parting ways with the Da Capo Music scholarship as a gift to her students and the FCC music Department.

“There are few things I can think of that are more gratifying than watching and hearing you grow as a musician and becoming part of the team of educated humans. You are joy, you are music, you are family.” said Dana to her students

The scholarship will give incoming freshmen majoring in music an opportunity to begin their studies at FCC.

The auditorium was filled with friends, family and acquaintances, as applause roared throughout  the night from the singing performances alongside piano instrumentals from pianist Aarne Kela, playing songs like “Seasons of Love” by Jonathan Larson.

Throughout the concert Dana would briefly deliver speeches expressing her inspirations or telling a story of reflections about her journey and career between songs. 

Dana has stated that although the night seemed like a farewell, it is really a celebration of their journey together. 

“The loving community that grows around music is what makes it magical. My journey has been long and sometimes confusing, but music has made it a journey to find what I love. And although my journey is not over. I would not change it for the world,” said Dana.

Dana has been instrumental in building the music program at FCC and making it highly regarded throughout the state.

Her students have performed in Canada, Europe, and at the International Choral Festival in France while also performing twice at Carnegie Hall in New York.

At the 11th Annual California All-State music education conference, Dana was honored with the CMEA Pearson/Silver Burdett Choral Educator Award and in 2021, she received the Dr. Bill F. Stewart Achievement of Excellence Award from the State Center Community College District.

“To this day, saying farewell is a hard and tear filled time for me. It is who I am, and I am okay with that,” says Dana.