True to its word, the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop awarded a total of $3,500 in scholarships to deserving local jazz students recently. The awards were given between sets of the Blue Cranes clinic and concert on June 5th. The Portland "post-jazz" group also participated in the award presentations, much to the delight of the winners and the audience.
The students ranged from high school to post-college age and all have participated in BJW functions over the years. Some of them will be using the money for private music lessons and others to help with college or jazz camp expenses.
Local trumpeter and California State University - Bakersfield student Brent Williams was presented the BJW's Lary Totten Memorial award, given annually to a deserving youth who exemplifies a passionate pursuit of musical education and professionalism. Williams has been attending BJW activities for years, from his early participation in the BJW's Beginning Jazz Class to recently headlining as the Featured Artist with his own band. The award was accompanied with a check for $1,000.
The award is given annually in memory of the late pianist and former Board member of the BJW, Lary Totten, who was instrumental in helping the BJW to become a non-profit in its formative years.
In addition, five awards of $500 each were given to the following:
Chris Anderson (piano), Ryan Bowers (sax), Isaiah Morfin (sax), Andrew Morgan (drums), and Jorge Santos (trumpet). Morfin's award was accepted on his behalf by his mother, Angela. She thanked the BJW for all of the support it had given her son, previously a two-time Lary Totten award winner himself, who is just about to complete his studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA..
All of the winners expressed gratitude to the BJW for helping them to pursue their dreams of becoming better jazz musicians and, as some expressed, to learn enough to someday share their knowledge with others in the future.
The event was held at Le Corusse Rouge on White Lane. The BJW holds its free weekly workshop there every Wednesday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.