Fullerton College Centennial


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Always, it was about the music.

Chelsea started collecting 78's of jazz recordings when she was about 10 years old. She didn't care for the fusion or smooth jazz heard on the radio — she preferred the rawness of Bix Biederbecke, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong. She listened for hours as she read biographies about her favorite musicians. It became the basis of her lifetime love affair with Trad Jazz. Over the years she soaked up favorite riffs of musicians of the past, and the current ones at her favorite haunt, Disneyland.

She practiced for hours on the clarinet, and later the alto, tenor and soprano saxophones.

Chelsea made her debut at the the world famous jazz venue Steamer’s Cafe at the age of 16, sitting in with "Arlene and the Guys" big band at the invitation of Disneyland drummer Jimmy Ford.

Chelsea graduated from prestigious Troy High School in 2008. She completed the rigorous “Troy Tech” program with an internship in Music Arrangement and Composition with her mentor Roger Bissell. Mr. Bissell was a professional musician, arranger and composer with Disneyland for over 25 years.

Chelsea was hand picked by noted musician Bruce Babad (Cannonball-Coltrane Project) to play in his top combo at Fullerton College in 2010.

Chelsea entered California State University, Fullerton with Honors from Troy High at the age of 17. She began with a major in Music Performance but made the change to Music History and Theory. She performed with Bill Cunliffe’s CSUF Jazz II at the Reno Jazz Festival in 2010, as well as many performances at Steamer’s Jazz Cafe in Fullerton. She performed with the large wind ensemble playing classical pieces. She sang in the women's choir.

Her 50 page senior Honor’s thesis “Dixieland at Disneyland: New Orleans Revival & The Magic Kingdom” garnered recognition and a $400 award from the music department. She earned her B.A. in Music in 2012, graduating Magna Cum Laude on the President’s Honor Roll with a GPA over 3.8. She was one of a handful of the original 200 students to complete the rigorous Honor’s program. She graduated in 4 years.

Chelsea was President of the New Orleans Jazz Club of Southern California. She played with the club for a number of years before assuming the presidency in January 2013. Her mission with the club was to educate and attract young musicians into the world of Dixieland Jazz. She formed her "Ambassador Band" and travelled to high schools and community colleges performing in front of music majors. Her performance at Fullerton College in front of Jerry Garvin’s ‘Concert Hour’ class on April 19th can be found on her YouTube channel "ChelseaJoy4Jazz". Additionally, you can see her perform at the New Orleans Jazz Club on the YouTube channel "Franklin Clay Fillms". Chelsea was the reeds musician and vocalist with The South Bay Dixie Jazz Band. They play all over Southern California, and are the house band at Leisure World in Seal Beach. She toured with them in Buenos Aires, Argentina, leaving the day after graduating from CSUF. One of their performances was broadcast on Argentina television. Chelsea recorded a CD with The South Bay Dixie Jazz Band which was released Sept. 4th, 2013.

Chelsea played once a month with The Society For The Preservation of Dixieland Jazz in Covina.

She played every other Sunday night in the house band at Steamer’s Cafe.

She was a regular performer at the Mammoth Jazz Festival.

Chelsea could be found ‘busking’ on the corners of Old Town Orange most weekends. She was following the inspiration of Bruce Babad, who said he wanted to get paid to practice.

Chelsea was only 22 years old when she was killed. She lived, worked, went to church, and went to school in Fullerton. She is truly a 'hometown girl.'