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2008 Summer Jazz Colony Participants

2008 SJC Colonists


Lauren Desberg, 17, will be a senior at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in Los Angeles, California. There she sings with the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Big Band, and the Combos. She has been singing in a variety of styles since age 6, but her main focus now is jazz. Lauren was selected to participate in the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Vocal Jazz Ensemble in 2008, and has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and in Los Angeles venues such as Catalina's Bar and Grill, The Jazz Bakery, and the Vic. She has studied with Jason Goldman, Michele Weir, Walter Smith III, and Gretchen Parlato. Lauren says she is most influenced by Anita O'Day, Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, Harry Connick Jr., Roy Hargrove, Kenny Garrett, and McCoy Tyner.

Samara Oster, 17, will be a senior at the Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, where she is a member of the Milton Academy Jazz Program. At the 2008 Berklee Jazz Ensemble Festival, her combo place second in their division, and she received a Judge's Choice Award for outstanding performance. A Brookline, MA native, Samara studies jazz with Patrice Williamson and Bob Sinicrope, and classical, opera, and musical theatre technique with Angela Gooch. Recently she was a finalist in the NATS-Boston Chapter musical theatre competition. Samara has been on an extended tour of South Africa with the Milton Jazz Ensemble, where she was a featured vocalist at the Green Dolphin Jazz Club in Cape Town. She and her Milton Jazz Combo performed with T.S. Monk at the IAJE in a tribute concert to Thelonious Monk, and she has also opened for artists such as Jim Hall and Dave Holland at The Real Deal Jazz Club in Boston, and has performed with Nathan Lane and Celine Dion at the Fleet Center in Boston.

McKenna Whisler, 17, will be a senior at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is experienced in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, soul/R&B, pop, opera, and praise & worship, and gospel. She has been singing for five years with The Whisler Family touring the U.S. and Canada, as well as numerous performances as a soloist and cast member at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, the Pittsburgh Opera Theater, soloist with the gospel group, VISION, and numerous performances with her school groups at CAPA. She was one of eight vocalists selected for the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She studies voice with Barbara Benvin, and is absolutely passionate about music, and as she says, she "eats, lives and breathes singing!"


Levon Henry, 16, tenor saxophonist, will be a senior at Los Angeles County High School this fall where he plays in the award-winning Jazz Combo and Big Band. He has won an outstanding soloist award at the Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, and has performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival. He has performed with Bobby Watson, Lisa Henry, and Jim White, and later this summer will play in Germany's "Century of Song" festival with Earl Harvin, Joe Henry, Mose Allison, and Bettye Lavette. Levon has studied with Jason Goldman, Walter Smith III, and Rob Lockhart, and his main influences include Joe Lovano, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. He hopes to become a professional jazz composer and performer, and to be able to give other young musicians the opportunities he has been given.

Grace Kelly, 16, is an alto saxophonist, singer, songwriter and composer/arranger from Brookline, Massachusetts, and has completed the jazz studies certificate program at New England Conservatory Prep School. She is the winner of numerous DownBeat Student Music Awards, ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composers Awards, International Songwriting Competitions, and outstanding performer awards at various festivals. Grace studies with Lee Konitz, Jerry Bergonzi, and Allen Chase. As a leader, she has released three CDs and has two more releases planned for 2008. She has performed in venues in the U.S. and Europe including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Dakota Jazz Club, Kennedy Center, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, Boston Symphony Hall, and many others. Grace has performed and/or recorded with Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Dave Brubeck, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, Terri Lynne Carrington, Diane Reeves, Chris Potter, Billy Hart, George Cables, Winard Harper, Rufus Reid, among others, and has appeared with the Boston Pops Orchestra. This is her third year as a Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colonist.

Paul-Eirik Melhus, 16, tenor saxophonist, will be a senior at Ironwood High School in Glendale, Arizona in the fall. He has performed with The Young Sounds of Arizona, the Jazz Band of America, and the Arizona All-State Jazz Ensemble. In these ensembles, he has performed at IAJE, Arizona Music Educators Convention, Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic, The Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival, Chandler Jazz Festival, and the others. Paul-Eirik has studied with Jason Goldman, Walter Smith III, Robby Marshall, Eric Patterson, and Lee Worley. He was a Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colonist in 2007 where he studied with Frank Morgan, Joe Gilman, Ed Soph, and Marvin Stamm, and he was a finalist for the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble.


Zachery Gillespie, 17, trumpet, will be a senior at Ironwood High School in Glendale, Arizona this fall. He has performed with ensembles at Deer Valley High School, and in The Young Sounds of Arizona, Arizona All-State Jazz Band, and the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. He has performed at the annual conference of the International Association for Jazz Education, Midwest International Band & Orchestra Clinic, The Next Generation Jazz Festival in Monterey, California, and the Western International Band Conference. He has performed with Dan Brubeck, Bobby Shew, Pete Christlieb, Chris Brubeck, Rebeca Mauleon, and Wayne Bergeron.

Griffith Kazmierczak, 17, trumpet, will be a senior at Williamsville East Senior High School in East Amherst, New York in the fall. A violinist and trumpeter, he began violin study at age 4 and trumpet study at age 7. He entered the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts in the 5th grade and began playing in the high school groups that year. He has studied classical and jazz and theory throughout high school and currently studies jazz trumpet and theory with Tom "Bones" Malone. Griffith has performed in the All-Erie County/All WNY groups on trumpet in both classical and jazz settings, violin, and chorus, was in the New York State All-State Band on trumpet in 2008, and was given the Outstanding Trumpet Soloist Award by Wynton Marsalis during the 2007 Essentially Ellington Competition. He has performed with Tom "Bones" Malone, Chris Vadala, David "Fathead" Newman, Ray Chamberlin, Ken Kaufman, Walter Blanding, Bobby Militello, Dave Schiavonne, Bobby Jones, Jerry Livingston, and many others.

Ivan Rosenberg, 16, trumpet, will be a senior at the LaGuardia Arts High School in New York in the fall. There he plays in the Senior Jazz Band. He is a member of the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Jazz Arts Program, and there plays in a septet and a big band, both directed by Jeremy Manasia. Ivan is a member of the Thelonious Monk Institute and plays in the Thelonious Monk Institute Sextet. In 2008, he won a DownBeat Student Music Award for best jazz soloist and an outstanding soloist award at the Greenwich Jazz Festival. He has studied with artists such as Bobby Watson, Dave Stryker, Steve Turre, Bob Mintzer, John Riley, Mike Holober, Sherrie Maricle, Dick Oatts, John Pattitucci, and Nathan Warner. Ivan has performed with Jimmy Heath, Mike Holober, Chris Rosenberg, Sherrie Maricle, and many others.


Luke Celenza, 16, piano, will be a junior at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York next fall. For the past five years he has attended the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Jazz Division, studying with Jeremy Manasia, as well as performing with both the MSM Combo and Big Band. At 14, Luke became one of the youngest members of the prestigious scholarship program, The New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band Classic, appearing at Symphony Space, Knitting Factory, Swing 46, and the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center with jazz greats Steve Turre, Warren Vache, Rich Perry, Scott Wendholt, and Joe Lovano. Last summer, he attended Berklee College of Music and studied jazz piano with Joanne Brackeen and Ray Santisi. He has also take master classes with Michel Camilo.

Gregory Chen, 17, piano, will be a senior at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California in the fall. He has played in the San Jose Youth Orchestra, San Jose Jazz Society Youth Combo, and the Berkeley JazzSchool High School Jazz Workshop. He was in the 2008 IAJE California Jazz All-State Honor Band, was a 2008 Reno Jazz Festival High School All-Star Performer, and a finalist for the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. Gregory has garnered numerous soloist awards, including at the Smith Dobson Festival, Folsom Jazz Festival, Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival, and others. He has 10 years of classical training and 5 years of jazz study, and has studied with Frank Sumares, Murray Low, Dann Zinn, Taylor Eigsti, Yuma Sung, and Michael Zilber.

Noah Kellman, 17, piano, will be a senior at Manlius Pebble H.S. in DeWitt, New York where he plays with the Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo. He has performed at the Berklee H.S. Jazz Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, Jazz on the Square in Syracuse, the Kennedy Center in Washington, and many others. His honors and awards include the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency, ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, National Honor Society, seven DownBeat Student Awards including several for Outstanding Performance as Jazz Soloist and Outstanding Original Composition, as well as numerous scholarships to camps and festivals, including the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop, Vail Jazz Workshop, and others. Noah has studied or performed with artists such as John Clayton, Lewis Nash, Terri Lynne Carrington, Rick Dimuzio, Bobby Watson, Geoff Keezer, Joe Gilman, Curtis Fuller, Randy Brecker, Jane Monheit, Marvin Stamm, Frank Morgan, Ed Shaughnessy, and Danilo Perez.


Carlos Alabaci, 17, bass, will be a senior at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida in the fall. There is his a member of the New World School Jazz Ensemble, New World Combo I, and the New World Symphony Orchestra where he is principal bass of the double bass section. With the Jazz Ensemble he has performed with Benny Golson, John Fedchock, Jason Carter, Duffy Jackson, and Wycliffe Gordon. With the Combo, he has performed with Kenny Werner and Ira Sullivan. He has performed at the Savannah Music Festival, the IAJE convention in Toronto, Canada, and throughout the Miami area. Carlos also has his own group, the MF Jazz Project, which consists of musicians from the New World School of the Arts and alumni, and performs throughout the Miami Dade area.

Joshua Crumbly, 16, bass, will be a senior at Quartz Hill High School in Quartz Hill, California in the fall. He began playing piano at age 3 and began classical piano study at age 5. He soon discovered that his first love is the bass, both the electric bass and the acoustic bass. He has studied electric bass with Rick Ilejay, Victor Bailey of Weather Report, Brian Allen, Todd Johnson, and Marcus Miller. He has studied acoustic bass with the late Al Mckibbon. Joshua performs with his high school jazz ensemble, in professional settings throughout the Los Angeles area, at the Playboy Jazz Festival, has attended the summer program at the Berklee School of Music where he worked with Terri Lynne Carrington and Rick Dimuzio. Joshua has also recorded with Lamont Vanhook, Michael Furey, Isaiah Morfin, and Bill Fulton.

Kate Davis, 17, is a bassist, violinist, and jazz singer. She will be a senior at West Linn High School in West Linn, Oregon in the fall. She has played bass in the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra, Metropolitan Youth Symphony Jazz Ensemble, and is violin section leader in the Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, and her high school orchestra. She has been a Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble finalist, selected to the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, and has received bass soloist awards at the Clackamas and Bellevue Jazz Festivals, and has been a member of the Oregon All-State Orchestra, Oregon All-State Jazz Ensemble, and the All-Northwest Orchestra. Kate has studied bass with Dave Captein, Don Hermanns, John Clayton, and Edgar Meyer, violin with Ann Christensen and Carol Sindell, and she currently studies voice with Valerie Day.


Jimmy Macbride, 17, drums, will be a senior at Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut and will be attending the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford in the fall. He studies drums with Tom Melito and piano, composition, and theory with Earl MacDonald. Him many honors and awards include five DownBeat Student Music Awards, and three ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composers Awards. He has been awarded scholarships to attend prestigious camps such as the Berklee School Performance Program, Skidmore Jazz Institute, the Percussive Arts Society's Larrie Londin Memorial Scholarship, and the William Ludwig Scholarship to attend the PAS International
Convention. In August, he will be attending the Vail Jazz Workshop. Jimmy has performed in the Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center, and has performed with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra at the North Sea Jazz Festival and will perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

Colin McDaniel, 16, will be a junior this fall in Davis High School in Davis, California. He has been playing drums since age 2 and jazz since the 4th grade. He has played in the Sacramento youth Symphony Big Band, several Berkeley JazzSchool combos, and the SF Jazz All-Star High School Jazz Band and Combo. He has attended several jazz programs including the Stanford Jazz Residency, and the Berkeley JazzSchool Advanced Summer Program. He was a member of the California All-State Jazz Band and has received numerous scholarships and outstanding soloist awards at jazz festivals. Colin has studied with Rick Lotter, Mike Zilber, Wayne Wallace, Stan Lunetta, and Jeff Alkire. His influences include Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Brian Blade, Bill Stewart, Eric Harland, and Max Roach.

Anthony Polson, 16, drums, will be a junior at Cleveland High School in Portland, Oregon in the fall. Born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, he became interested in music at an early age, listening to the sound of the drums in the streets every day. He has lived in Washington DC, Beijing, China, California and Oregon, and has been exposed to a very wide range of musical styles, and now, has taken a strong interest in jazz. He has attended the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy, the Pacific Crest American Music Program, all to focus on his musical interests and talents. At Cleveland H.S. he performs in the big band and combo, has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Portland Jazz Festival, Next Generation Jazz Festival and others. He has garnered numerous awards for outstanding soloist, and has received several scholarships to attend summer jazz programs. Anthony has studied with Carlton Jackson, Alan Jones, and Ed Thigpen.


Gabriel Condon, 17, guitar, will be a senior at Penfield High School in Penfield, New York, where he plays guitar in the senior jazz ensemble, violin in the senior orchestra, and sings in the chorale and select jazz choir. He has been an Alati Jazz Scholarship recipient for three years at the Eastman School of Music where he studies with Bob Sneider and plays in the Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra. In 2007 he was selected by Jeff Tyzik to perform with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2008 he received a DownBeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Performance. He has performed on stage with Phil Keaggy, Russell Malone, Terell Stafford, Kevin Mahogany, and Stefon Harris. Gabe currently plays in a jazz duo with Rochester pianist Rod Blumenau, leads his own jazz trio "Pick3", and has just released a CD of original compositions with his rock band, "Mint Jam."