Congratulations to Jazz House Kids! The Montclair-based nonprofit that has gained a reputation as one of the nation’s preeminent arts education and performance organizations, has announced that seven of its students have been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and five students have been tapped for the 2015 GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session. In addition, one student received an ASCAP Herb Alpert Composers Award and two others were chosen for the Jazzfestival Bern Fellowship. Several Jazz House Kids students were honored by multiple organizations.
According to Melissa Walker, president and founder of Jazz House Kids, last year was a stellar year of recognition for the organization and numerous young people studying at the Jazz House receiving 32 national awards. “Our mission is to transform young lives and open doors to the future, and we couldn’t be more proud of the role that Jazz House Kids continues to play in their development as musicians and as citizens of the world,” she said. “These are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our talented and tremendously dedicated young artists.”
2015 Grammy Camp – Jazz Session
The GRAMMY Foundation selected 32 talented high school students from across the United States for the 2015 GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session. Five of these outstanding emerging musicians study at the Jazz House, representing more than 15 percent of the entire band.
Their selection launches them into the spotlight surrounding the 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards, and provides them with unparalleled opportunities to perform in front of some of music’s biggest names. The young musicians will travel in February to Los Angeles for a week-long music adventure. The students from 31 cities and 13 states will perform at various GRAMMY week events including the official post-GRAMMY celebration, attend the GRAMMY Awards as guests of The Recording Academy and record an album at the legendary Capitol Studios & Mastering.
According to Neal Portnow, president and CEO of the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy, “When we look back at the students who have participated over the years, it really is the best and the brightest in the genre and this year’s group is no exception.”
Jazz House Kids has consistently been represented by its top students in the GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session (five members in 2013, two in 2013 and four in 2012), and occasionally our students have been invited back for consecutive years, which is rare.
National YoungArts Foundation
Each year, thousands of American high school students apply to the National YoungArts Foundation, which identifies the next generation of artists and supports them at critical junctures in their careers. Those selected from the 11,000 applicants experience life-changing workshops, access to scholarships, performance and exhibition opportunities and master classes with world-renowned artists.
One Jazz House Kids student, percussionist Jared Silverstein, earned a coveted spot as a finalist in the 2015 National YoungArts Week in Miami, which takes place in early January. Three exceptional students and one recent Jazz House Kids alum received honorable mentions, and two others – one new alum and one current student – earned merit recognition. All YoungArts winners will participate in a New York City regional event in May where they will have access to workshops and master classes with renowned artists in their fields, performance and exhibition opportunities at top cultural institutions, and life-changing experiences, while working with other young artists in their community, from across ten disciplines in the visual, literary and performing arts.
In 2014, Jazz House Kids was represented by three of the six finalists in the YoungArts jazz category. One student, Coleman Hughes, was chosen as a U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the nation’s highest honor in the arts for high school seniors. Coleman received a $25,000 scholarship and, along with the other 19 other U.S. Presidential Scholars, showcased his talents at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He was the first jazz musician in history to receive this award.
One young Jazz House Kids pianist, Esteban Castro has received the 2014 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award for the second year in a row. Esteban is one of only four students in the nation in the 11-13 year old category. Earlier this month, he performed his original composition, “I’m Dizzy” with fellow Jazz House students, drummer Zack Adleman and bassist George Austin at the 2014 ASCAP award ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Bern Switzerland Jazz Festival
Two students, drummer Jared Silverstein and pianist Isaiah Thompson have been selected to receive the Jazzfestival Bern Fellowship for 2015. The Jazzfestival Bern Fellowship is a newly established award for young musicians who have demonstrated a strong interest in traditional jazz and a superior aptitude for jazz performance. Students are nominated by a music industry professional. The program takes place in Switzerland during the Bern Jazz Festival in May 2015 where each student will perform in a jazz ensemble with their peers for three sets each evening for six nights.
Jazz House Kids
Under the guidance of Melissa Walker and artistic direction from her husband, multi-GRAMMY Award-winning bassist Christian McBride, Jazz House Kids has brought music, mentoring, education and apprenticeship to students from diverse backgrounds who have performed before more than half a million enthusiastic fans for 13 years. Currently, 40% of students at the Jazz House receive need-based tuition assistance and 100% of the 27 high seniors who graduated in 2014 have gone on to top colleges, receiving a collective $550,000 in scholarships.