Arts council awards scholarships in music

Arts council awards
scholarships in music

JACKSON — The sound of music filled the band room at Jackson Memorial High School as the Jackson Council for the Arts held auditions recently for the third annual Young Musician Scholarship Program.

Scholarships were awarded in three categories to instrumental musicians in the eighth through 11th grades.

"The council focuses on opportunities to promote a stronger sense of community through the fine and performing arts," said Vicki Rickabaugh, chairwoman of the scholarship committee. "One important way of nurturing the arts in Jackson is to encourage and acknowledge the talents of our young people."

Scholarship committee member Carol Blake described the award selection process.

"Scholarship awardees were selected by a panel of musicians and music educators from outside of Jackson," Blake said. "The committee would like to thank Karen Hedden for coordinating our judges again this year, and for being able to bring together the same encouraging panel that has presided over the auditions since the inception of this program."

Hedden has taught music for 30 years and is a former band director at Brick Memorial High School, Brick Township. Alfred Jorgensen is a professional classical percussionist, specializing in timpani performance. He is a retired band director and performs with the New Jersey Pops Orchestra and the New Jersey Opera Orchestra. Wilbur Whitteman is the director of the Georgian Court University Wind ensemble, the Lakewood Adult Big Jazz Band, and the Lakewood Middle School Band.

"We’ve been excited by the continuing expansion of this program each year,"Rickabaugh said. "Since its inception, 28 scholarships have been awarded to Jackson students. This year’s participants performed on woodwinds, brass, piano, guitar and percussion, and the talent was tremendous."

In the eighth- and ninth-grade division, first place in the classical category went to Molly Arney on flute, while second place went to Mark Grayce on guitar. First place in the contemporary category was awarded to Lauren Delesky on piano, and second place was captured by Melissa Mikkelsen on tuba.

In the 10th- and 11th-grade division, first place in the classical category went to Brian Tran on piano. Due to the overwhelming talent of the students, judges awarded a tie for second place to Sora Kang on piano and Timothy Schad on guitar. In the contemporary category, percussionist James Cathers won first place, with guitarist Adam Pomponio winning second place.

"The awards will be used to offset the cost of music lessons, equipment purchases, music camp or other related expenses," said Pam Turner, president of the Jackson Council for the Arts. "These young people were so exciting to listen to. We also want to highlight their talent for a wider audience, so we are inviting our finalists to perform at a future arts council event in the next year."

The scholarship program is made possible by the Jackson Council for the Arts and its sponsors.

"It is our intent that the scholarship program be entirely supported by donations from the community through fund-raising efforts," added Jim Cook, treasurer of the arts council. "This year’s scholarship program was funded from a variety of sources throughout the year."

Additional scholarship sponsors included the 30th Legislative District of Sen. Robert W. Singer, Assemblyman Joseph Malone and Assemblyman Ronald Dancer; Perlmutter family ShopRites; Lina’s Pizzeria and Restaurant; lawyer Raymond F. Shea; Sitton Septic; lawyers Stein, Supsie and Hoffman; Katherine and Milton Redlich, and Rickabaugh.

The scholarship committee also includes Bill Blake, Joyce Cook, Roxane Southcott-Roberts and former scholarship recipient Jeff Flynn.

"The arts council is now busy planning activities for the 2004-05 season," Turner said.

The Jackson Civic Chorus will be holding open auditions in September. A cabaret highlighting performers and performances from the first six years of arts council events is being planned for later in the fall. Auditions for the fourth annual Young Musician’s Scholarship will be held in spring.

"We welcome newcomers throughout the year who would like to participate as performers, directors, technicians or through volunteering for the many behind-the-scenes jobs that help support our endeavors," Turner said.

Anyone interested in learning more about the arts council or joining any of the council’s activities may call Turner at (732) 833-0255.