For the 15th year in a row, the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society has awarded scholarships to worthy High School Seniors. On May 24, 2011, six graduating seniors received merit scholarships of $1,000 each. The performance presentation was made at the Sunrise Theatre’s Black Box venue before a live audience.
Three of the six scholarships were named in memory of member musicians Tom Omans, Louis Sanzaro and Honesto Villasurda, who donated their time and talent to fulfilling the mission of the Fort Pierce Jazz & Blues Society.
The scholarships went to:
Nancy Carvajal, Vocalist
An Honors graduate of Indian River Charter High School, who plays Latin Percussion, Drum Kit, Piano & Guitar. Ms. Carvajal was the lead, as Carmen Diaz, in this year's "Fame, the Musical" and was the Soloist, as Simeon, in last year's "Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat." She plans to be a Performing Arts Major at IRSC and then transfer to Wittenberg University in Ohio. Her aspiration is to earn a Doctorate in Music.
Riana Elliott, Vocalist,
An Honors graduate of Treasure Coast High School, has been singing since age four. Ms. Elliott was the featured Vocalist with the TCHS Titan Jazz Band for four year, was a member of the TCHS Marching & Symphonic Bands and, this year, was the Drum Major of the TCHS Titan Marching Band. Riana was a Guest Vocalist with the FPJ&BS Jazz Ensemble at the December, 2010, Waterside Blues Concert. She will be attending the University of South Florida with a double-major in Nursing & Vocal Performance.
Robert Geniti, Guitarist
An Honors graduate of Treasure Coast High School, has been a student at both the High School and IRSC with Dual Enrollment for the past two years. Mr. Geniti, was the first guitarist invited to play with the IRSC Four-County Honors Jazz Band and was the Lead Guitarist in the TCHS Titan Jazz Ensemble for the last three years. Robert has earned an IRSC scholarship to continue his music studies in the fall and he will major in Music Education.
Mary Kelly, Trombonist
Has been in School Bands since fifth grade. Ms. Kelly was a member of the JBHS Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands and has won numerous medals at District & State Solo & Ensemble Festivals. She earned "Superior with Distinction" ratings at State Competition. Mary performs with the Treasure Coast Youth River Pops Orchestra and the Stuart Community Concert Band. She has been accepted at Florida State University where she will study both Finance & Music as a Double Major.
Jake Pepple, Percussionist,
Is an Honors graduate from Jensen Beach High School who was a member of the JBHS Drum Line, Marching Band & Award-Winning Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Dougherty was Percussion Captain with the JBHS Band and earned "Superior with Distinction" ratings at State Level Solo & Ensemble Competitions. Jake will attend Florida State University's School of Music to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jazz Studies and looks forward to being a professional performer and a Professor of Music at the college level.
Maya Ratsey, Guitarist,
Graduated with Honors from Indian River Charter High School where he maintained a 4.0 GPS. Mr. Ratsey has played guitar for eight years and also plays Piano, Bass, Drums and Banjo. He was a member of the IRCHS Jazz Band for four years, was the recipient of the IRCHS VAPA Instrumentalist Award and the Michael Joseph Trevino Aversa Humanitarian Scholarship. Maya plans to attend McNally-Smith College of Music where he will be majoring in Guitar Performance.