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Local Students Get Free Ride To UC San Diego Jazz Camp

Photo credit: UC San Diego Jazz Camp

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Four students have received full-tuition scholarships to the prestigious program, where they'll be mentored by internationally renowned artists.

Four local students have received full-tuition scholarships to UC San Diego’s prestigious Jazz Camp that's held every June. The students are also on their way to compete in national jazz competitions with their school bands.

The winners from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts are trombone player Wesley Etienne and bass player Ashley DelCastillo. Their school's jazz band will perform at the Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center in New York City in early May.

Zion Dyson, who sings and plays piano, and tenor sax player Alvin Paige also received scholarships. They play in the after-school music enrichment program at the International Academy of Jazz. The band, led by famed local trumpet player Gilbert Castellanos, will perform next week at Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Festival.

Dan Atkinson, the director of Jazz Camp, is glad that two of the winners are girls. He said that he’s never been happy with the low numbers of girls applying.

"Part of it is just the bad history of jazz being the guy’s realm," Atkinson said. "The girls end up doing something else with their summer, but I don’t see that with classical music or chamber music camps."

This year, he made a push to reach out to more girls to increase attendance.

The Jazz Camp is run by UC San Diego Extension and is aimed at intermediate to advanced musicians ages 14 to adult. Enrollment is limited to 60 students, who study with an elite faculty of internationally renowned jazz artists.

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