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Local Jazz Students Compete for College Aid

Photo caption:


 (Photo: Twenty-three-year-old Kendal Karch auditions for one of seven jazz scholarships at San Diego Mesa College. Ana Tintocalils/KPBS )


There aren't many places for young people to learn jazz in San Diego County, but this week San Diego Mesa College is holding auditions for students who are competing to get one of seven jazz scholarships at the campus. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has the story.


Twenty-three-year-old Kendal Karch has been playing drums since he was a kid. He remembers listening to jazz music on the radio with his dad. 


Karch: No matter what they (people) think about it (jazz), even people who say they don't like jazz, in the end, people do like some of offspring of jazz.  


Kendall is one of about a dozen students competing to get a $1,000 jazz scholarship at Mesa this year. The scholarship also guarantees each student a spot on the Mesa College Jazz Band. Philip Narvason is another contender. 


Narvason: I'm wondering how many people are auditioning. Hopefully my nerves will help me rather than hinder me. 


Narvason says he jumped at the chance to get paid $1,000 for playing the music he loves. Narvason is a trained classical pianist but loves the improv-aspect of jazz. 


Narvason: Its like the path of where the music is going is illuminated one step at a time. So you don't really know where its going to be headed in one minute or two minutes.But then when it sounds good it just feels great. 


Jim Romeo is leader of Mesa's jazz band. He says the program is meant for students who don't necessarily have that natural "it" factor. 


Romero: Guys like Miles, Coltrane, Parker...they have the natural 'it.' They're geniuses, right? Then there are people who can learn 'it.' We're looking for someone who has desire. If we can find someone who wants 'it,' then we hope to give it to them. 


As well as the jazz scholarship program, Romeo hopes to start other new performance classes -- from Indonesian ethic music to salsa.      


Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.


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