A $100,000 legacy gift powering the 25th Anniversary of Healdsburg Jazz and beyond

We are honored to share that Healdsburg Jazz has received a generous legacy gift of $100,000 from Michael Jaret through The Michael Jaret Fund for Healdsburg Jazz Festival, a component fund of Community Foundation Sonoma County.

Michael Jaret was always a music lover and natural musician. He grew up playing guitar in rock bands with his younger brother, Peter, during their high school years, and the two continued their regular jam sessions throughout his life. Michael moved to California in 1992, working as an independent consultant in Silicon Valley and playing music around the Bay Area and at annual family reunions.

Michael’s particular love of jazz and Brazilian music grew later in his life, and he developed a passion for education as he pursued several degrees and continued his music education through private lessons. Michael and his wife, Susan, discovered the unique community of Healdsburg and broader Sonoma County, often coming to town to enjoy dinner at Dry Creek Kitchen and our free live jazz concerts at Hotel Healdsburg’s Spirit Bar. He and Susan regularly attended the annual Healdsburg Jazz festival and Michael was a big fan of Randy Vincent, a regular performer at our events. Eventually, the couple bought a home in Healdsburg, making plans to relocate to enjoy wine country full time. 

Along with his passion for music and education, Michael was a champion for social justice. His family shared with us that music always helped Michael get through tough periods in his life, and he would be gratified to know that his gift will help ensure that live performances and music education continue to be available to those who may not be able to afford them on their own.

In 2020, Michael passed away after battling cerebellar ataxia, a degenerative illness that slowly robbed him of mobility and movement. He is survived by his wife, Susan, his family, and by his incredible generosity in the form of funding to carry on free live performances and the Healdsburg Jazz festival for years to come.

Michael’s generous legacy gift gives Healdsburg Jazz more freedom to begin planning a broader vision for our annual festival and educational efforts in Sonoma County public schools. The gift is structured to grant $5,000 every year for the first ten years, with the remaining balance available at the ten-year mark—helping to secure our vision for the future and ensure Michael’s love of the annual festival, free live jazz, and music education, lives on. 

The Healdsburg Jazz team is eternally grateful for Michael’s thoughtful gift and the opportunity to steward these funds to bring music and education to the Healdsburg and broader Sonoma County community for years to come. 

In warm remembrance of Michael Edward Jaret, 1947-2020