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IAJSD Students Johnny Steele and Jarien Jamanila accepted to Juilliard!

We are so excited to report that two of our students, one current, one former, have been accepted to the very elite Juilliard Jazz Program in New York City under the direction of Wynton Marsalis. It has been a real pleasure to watch 16 year old Johnny Steele, drummer in Gil’s 9am class, apply to colleges this year.  He is a junior at The School of Creative and Performing Arts but will be graduating a year early to pursue his dream of studying music.  He was able to get all his credits to graduate early by attending summer school.  He

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Zion Dyson – Featured Artist in the San Diego Union Tribune

Zion Dyson, was featured on Sunday, March 26 in the San Diego Union Tribune Arts and Entertainment section.  George Varga’s article contains quotes from Zion, Gilbert, Dan Atkinson (who runs the UCSD Jazz Camp) and Mark Dresser (UCSD Jazz Faculty).  We congratulate Zion on being selected and for shining a light on the youth jazz scene here in San Diego. Check out the full article: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sd-et-music-spring-profile-20170313-story.html

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IAJSD Students “Tore it Up” at Point Loma Nazarene College Jazz Fest!

Rob Thorsen’s 9am and 11am ensembles performed at Point Loma Nazarene College Jazz Fest this Saturday March 25.  Both groups received high marks from the judges.  Rob commented, “I am very proud of my two ensembles. Both groups tore it up! My ensemble l (9am) got a superior rating and my ensemble ll (11am) got an excellent rating. Great job Julian Roel, Jarien Jamanila, Jiakai Chang, Emma Christie Foster, Edward Gabrielyn, Angelica Pruitt, Eric Wesling, Carmen Murray, Nick Caldwell, Veena Dorazio, Dharma Dorazio, Benny Simon and Bryce Jacobs!  Special thanks to judges Christopher Hollyday and Willie Murillo and festival director

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Kamau Kenyatta receives 2nd GRAMMY!

Congratulations to Kamau Kenyatta on his 2nd GRAMMY Award!  Kamau received the award for his work as producer and arranger of Gregory Porter’s album “Take Me to the Alley.”  This album won in the category “Best Vocal Jazz Album.”  Kamau’s first GRAMMY was also on a collaboration with Gregory Porter – “Liquid Spirit” in 2014. Kamau teaches two ensembles at IAJSD.  He is beloved by his students for his depth of knowledge of music and his desire for artistic authenticity.  Kamau also teaches at UCSD where he was honored with the prestigious Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching

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Johnny Steele Receives YoungArts Scholarship!

For the second year in a row Johnny Steele has been selected for a Young Arts scholarship.  Johnny is 16 and plays in Gilbert Castellanos’ 9am combo.  Johnny was one of 5 percussionists selected nationwide to receive an award from Young Arts and stands to win $10,000 and a chance to study with mentors in Miami, New York or L.A.  His top choice is to study with Wynton Marsalis in New York. Johnny is making his mark on the SD Jazz Scene.  He is often asked to play in Gilbert’s house band for the Wednesday Night Jam Sessions.  He was

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Eric Wesling Receives $30K Scholarship to Berklee!

Eric Wesling on Guitar

Eric Wesling is in his second year with IAJSD playing guitar. He just started his senior year at Mission Bay High School but he already has a pretty good idea where he will be going to college. This summer Eric was awarded a $30,000 per year scholarship and the prestigious Berklee College of Music! Last August Eric attended The Berklee Guitar Sessions, a one week guitar intensive program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He stayed in the dorms and took classes. I asked him about the curriculum and he told me, “There were three classes each day, the

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