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Carmen Murray Performs with the San Diego Symphony!

14 year old Carmen Murray, drummer in Rob Thorsen's 9am class, was asked to perform a djembe solo for the San Diego Symphony's Holiday Concert "Noel, Noel."  The concert featured Brian Stokes Mitchell on vocals, a beloved Broadway star.  During the show Brian explained to the audience that the symphony would now play "The Little Drummer Boy," but in this case it was "The Little Drummer Girl"  and Carmen came out on stage. Brian asked her a few questions about herself and her music education and she proudly shared that she was a student in IAJSD.  She then went on

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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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Marshall Hawkins – Guest Instructor

Gilbert's 11 am class was thrilled when Marshall Hawkins stop in to give them a few pointers.  Mr. Hawkins runs the jazz program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy and was in town to attend an IAJSD board meeting. Mr. Hawkins in a living legend.  He was Miles Davis's bass player back in the day.  He teaches the kids with such depth and clarity.  His jazz lectures often touch on deeply spiritual issues.  He is a treasure and we are so blessed to have him as a mentor and board member. Brenda Greggio, the combo's piano player, wanted to express how

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Audition Day Celebration

Thanks to everyone for coming out to audition!  Auditions were held Saturday, Sept. 10 at Grossmont College.  We had 37 new and returning students come out to audition.  While the audition was taking place families enjoyed a potluck brunch and watched the student jam session led by our own Sean Lambert, a second year IAJSD student.  We applaud these kids for putting on a very entertaining show!  New students were welcomed into the group with incredible love and support.  It looks like the start of another great year. Now our students are anxiously waiting to see which ensemble they have

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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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IAJSD Students Performed at Bayside Summer Nights!

On Thursday, August 18, 2016, 14 IAJSD students performed at Bayside Summer Nights at the Embarcadero.  This is the large San Diego Symphony Summer Pops stage which seats over 2000 people.  Gilbert Castellanos (Artist Director, IAJSD) was asked to curate a summer jazz series for the SD Symphony.  Last night, August 18, the concert was titled "The Future of Jazz" and featured our up and coming IAJSD students and Cécile McLorin Salvant, an incredibly talented 24 year old jazz vocalist. Click here to read an excellent article by local jazz reviewer and IAJSD board member Robert Bush. He captures the

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Master Class with Chris Botti

Christ Botti Teaching Master Class

Today, July 28, 2016, IAJSD students and their parents were treated to a master class with Grammy Award winning trumpet virtuoso Chris Botti.  Botti is in town to play a concert in the Bayside Summer Nights series at the Embarcadero for The San Diego Symphony.  Thanks to the generosity of The San Diego Symphony, Botti was able to stop by the Grossmont College Recital Hall and share some wisdom with our students. Many of our students had the opportunity to perform for Botti and received wonderful feedback from him.  The students all did an exceptional job and Botti was impressed.

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