Year in and year out, The Eastman School of Music Jazz Studies Program is considered one of the best in the country. We are proud to be a scholarship partner with Eastman and its great tradition. This year we congratulate Justice Freeman, trumpeter and first year jazz performance major. Justice is a native of Rochester, New York and is highly thought of by his music professors and fellow musicians. Continued success to Justice and his budding music career!

Pictured above: Professor of Jazz Studies Bill Dobbins (left), accepting the check for the Billy Strayhorn Jazz Education Scholarship Award winner at Eastman, trumpeter Justice Freeman.

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) is a regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in several disciplines, including jazz. NOCCA was founded in 1973, and some of its distinguished alumni include Terrence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Donald Harrison, Trombone Shorty and Jonathon Batiste just to name a few.

For the 4th straight year, The Billy Strayhorn Foundation honored the recipient of this jazz education award in the JEN host city with a $500 stipend to help with upcoming program activities in the name of Billy Strayhorn. Every year, a remarkable 95-98% of NOCCA graduates go on to college and conservatory programs across the country.

Congratulations to all the programs at NOCCA, including the great work being done by Jazz Program Chair Michael Pellera and his staff with the students in the jazz program. We wish them nothing but continued success!

Pictured above: Students from the NOCCA jazz program and Mr. Michael Pellera receiving their award from Strayhorn family member Galen Demus.

The annual Jazz Education Network conference (JEN) in New Orleans proved to be a great start for jazz education and promoting the Strayhorn legacy. The conference bought together 3,000+ exhibitors, music artists, students and jazz educators in the “Big Easy”. There were over 250 jazz clinics, presentations and music performances over 4 days in January. Visitors to the Strayhorn booth received lots of information about Billy Strayhorn and his place in jazz history, as well as current and future events being held in his honor. Music students from as far away as Japan and England attended the conference. Look for details about the 2021 conference, which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

*Pictured above: Music students from Japan at the Billy Strayhorn exhibitor booth