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Dik Van Merteen


Dik Van Meerten

Former SEMJA Board Member Dik Van Meerten was killed in an accident on February 19 in Austin, Texas. Dik was visiting Austin from his home in Charlotte, N.C. He was a member of the SEMJA board and a loyal fan at the Bird of Paradise and The Firefly.

The long-time Ann Arbor resident was fondly remembered at the packed Old Town bar on March 11. Those assembled included family, friends, and several members of the local jazz community. SEMJA Vice President Michael G. Nastos announced the creation of a SEMJA Scholarship in Dik's name, SEMJA Board member Sandy Schopbach and bassist Paul Keller spoke, and a long line of musicians serenaded Dik with their horns. Pictured are tenorist Doug Horn and trumpeter Paul Finkbeiner. Seated and facing the camera are (trombonist) Chris Smith and (vibraphonist) Cary Kocher.

The Dik Van Meerten Scholarship will be given to a high school or college student who shows promise as a jazz musician. You can donate to the fund by sending a check (payable to SEMJA) to SEMJA, 712 East Ann Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 or pay by credit card via our recently installed PayPal on our homepage.

Dik Van Merteen Memorial

Remembering Dik Van Meerten


When I took over as manager of The Bird of Paradise, I wanted to use some modern technology to promote the club. One jazz-lover who never missed a show stepped up and offered his services as an IT specialist. He found a young genius to create a website, and then took it upon himself to update it every time there was a show to promote or a photo or change in scheduling to post. Which was almost every week. He also stepped in to replace me and present the film at the Sunday Reel Jazz series when I was away. And he did it all for free.

That was Dik van Meerten.

Dik was someone who gave endlessly. He was a mentor to young people who turned to him for an understanding ear and an open mind. Or to friends. And his advice was usually good, frank and always discerning. Dik gave tirelessly of his time to SEMJA and rarely missed a meeting. He rolled up his sleeves when a SEMJA presence was required. And all with the hearty laugh and luminous smile that anyone who knew him will remember forever.

In addition to the numerous friends who showed up at the Old Town send-off, Dik leaves behind him twins — Aaron and Sylvia — who miss him greatly even though they are now adults carrying on Dik's warm ways, as well as an ex-wife with whom he remained close friends, and one brother, who made the trip from France for the jazz send-off.

I'd like to thank all those musicians who turned out without a question when Ingrid Racine and I called them about the gig. They gave Dik a Second Line send-off that I'm sure he would have loved. And maybe he did.


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Doug Horn Paul Finkbeiner Cary Kocher Chris Smith