California State University, Long Beach
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Barcellona Marks His 20th Year of Running in Marathons to Raise Funds for the Wind Quintet

Published: February 15, 2010

Celebrating two decades of sweat philanthropy, Cal State Long Beach Professor John Barcellona ran the 20th Annual Scholarship Run on Feb. 7, a personal fundraiser he created to generate funds for the University Wind Quintet that he directs.

Barcellona’s fundraiser took place during the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach where he was one of 2,000 athletes to run the 26.2-mile marathon.

To date, Barcellona, also a professional flutist, has raised nearly $60,000 for his students. Netting about $3,000 a year, he is able to guarantee each of the students in his quintet about $300 a semester. Still, he believes in the expression “a little goes a long way.”

“When I started this, I wanted to attract quality woodwind students to our program, and I thought we needed some scholarship money to attract them. But, there wasn’t then and still isn’t a lot of scholarship money out there for a wind quintet,” said Barcellona.

This was the second year Barcellona ran the Surf City Marathon for this scholarship fund. He began running for the wind quintet in the Long Beach Marathon in 1990, followed by the Los Angeles Marathon until last year when the race was moved by new organizers to May, which is too late in the spring semester.

The quintet is a select group of musicians comprised of a horn player, flute player, clarinetist, bassoonist and oboe player. The five are chosen based on auditions held at the beginning of each academic year and are considered the university’s best at their respective instruments.

Since the inception of his annual scholarship run, Barcellona believes there has been an improvement in the level of musicians selected for the quintet, which he said has acquired a very good reputation over the last two decades.

Besides the ample supply of talented woodwind musicians Barcellona has trained over the years, he was also impressed with the second cohort of Cole Scholar musicians who came to campus as freshmen this past fall. The Cole Scholarship program is the result of a $16.4 million donation, the largest in university history, from the Bob Cole Trust to provide scholarships for student musicians to attend CSULB and its newly-named Bob Cole Conservatory of Music.

John Barcellona
Photo Courtesy of John Barcellona
John Barcellona

“Cole Scholarships have brought us many top-quality students. This is making the conservatory even more competitive with the top musical institutions nationally,” said Barcellona.

Barcellona, 62, began running in the Army during basic training. Now, with a regimen that is not quite as tough, he still runs three days a week and lifts weights four. Two to three weeks before the marathon he will tackle a 20-mile run to ensure he is prepared.

“I decided to start running marathons to raise money 20 years ago when I saw groups of people putting together events, such as walk-a-thons, jog-a-thons and 5Ks,” he said. “It was a natural fit for me since I’ve been running for so long. And I get a great workout in the process.”