GRAMMY Foundation Press Release

GRAMMY Foundation Press Release

GRAMMY Foundation selects students from across the United States to participate in
GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session during GRAMMY Week 2017

GRAMMY Foundation logo

Santa Monica, Calif., (Dec. 8, 2016) – The GRAMMY Foundation announced today that 32 talented high school students from across the United States have been selected for the 2017 GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session. Their selection launches them into the spotlight surrounding the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards, and provides them with unparalleled opportunities to perform for some of music’s biggest names. The students, representing 30 cities and 14 states, will travel to Los Angeles for a 10-day musical adventure under the direction of Justin DiCioccio of the Manhattan School of Music, Dr. Ron McCurdy of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, and associate choral director Susanna Wegner of Kansas City, Mo. Two former GRAMMY Camp students will be joining as members of the GRAMMY in the Schools media team to document the GRAMMY Week experience for the GRAMMY Foundation’s social media platforms.

“GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session provides an unparalleled experience for some of the most talented young jazz singers and instrumentalists in the U.S. through extraordinary rehearsal, performance, and recording opportunities during GRAMMY Week,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation. “The Recording Academy and its affiliated charities are proud to be a place of inspiration and collaboration for this program that encourages many of these gifted high school students to pursue professional careers in the music industry.”

On Feb. 8, 10-11, courtesy of Capitol Studios, the young musicians will record an album (GRAMMY Jazz 25) at the legendary facility in Hollywood, Calif. Over the years, noted members of The Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing have worked with the ensembles during the recording process. GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session albums from 2007 – 2016 are available for purchase via online music outlets such as Amazon, iTunes, and Rhapsody.

The selected students will perform at various GRAMMY Week events, including – for the eighth year – an appearance at GRAMMY In The Schools Live! – A Celebration of Music & Education sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund. This special event, which is open to the public, will showcase the selectees, along with special guest artists, on Feb. 9, 2017, at The Novo by Microsoft in Los Angeles. The group will offer additional public performances with special guest artists at Spaghettini Fine Dining & Entertainment in Seal Beach, Calif., and Bluewhale in Los Angeles on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, respectively. GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session members will also attend the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 12 as guests of The Recording Academy and will perform at the GRAMMY Celebration after-party.
GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session is supported in part by the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Gia Maione Prima Foundation, Inc., and the National Endowment for the Arts Artworks. Additional support is provided by Capitol Studios, Centerstaging, Gibson/Baldwin, Guitar Center, JBL, Roland, Shure, and Zildjian Cymbals.

GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session selectees are eligible for more than $2 million in college scholarships made possible through the GRAMMY Foundation’s college partners: Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, each selectee’s school will receive a professional cymbal courtesy of the Zildjian Company.

2017 GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session Members


  • Evan Mickas, Lafayette, Calif., Acalanes High School, Alto Sax 1
  • Nathan Farrell, Montclair, N.J., Montclair High School, Alto Sax 2
  • Abdias Armenteros, Miami Lakes, Fla., New World School of the Arts, Tenor Sax
  • Griffin Ross, Hillsborough, N.C., Cedar Ridge High School, Tenor Sax
  • Jonah Babitz, Miami, Fla., New World School of the Arts, Bari Sax
  • Aiden Thieme, Walnut Creek, Calif., Northgate High School, Trumpet Lead
  • Geoffrey Gallante, Alexandria, Va., West Potomac High School, Trumpet 2
  • Zaq Davis, New York, N.Y., Saint Ann’s School, Trumpet 3
  • Joey Curreri, Marina Del Rey, Calif., Academy of Music and Performing Arts at Hamilton High School, Trumpet 4
  • Miranda Agnew, Tucson, Ariz., University High School, Trumpet 5
  • Joseph Giordano, Albany, N.Y., Guilderland High School, Trombone 1
  • Reid Christmann, Summit, N.J., Newark Academy, Trombone 2
  • Jasim Perales, Oakland, Calif., Berkeley High School, Trombone 3
  • Jacob Melsha, Kirkwood, Mo., Kirkwood High School, Bass Trombone
  • Esteban Castro, Hackensack, N.J., Bergen County Academies, Piano
  • Ben Feldman, Seattle, Wash., Garfield High School, Bass
  • Arlo Sims, Cambridge, Mass., Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Guitar
  • Christian McGhee, Florissant, Mo., Westminster Christian Academy, Drums


  • Chloe Borthwick, Chester, N.Y., Warwick Valley High School, Soprano
  • Claudia Nketia, Montclair, N.J., Montclair High School, Soprano
  • Francesca Winer, Surfside, Fla., Miami Arts Charter School, Alto
  • Alexandria DeWalt, Houston, Tex., High School for the Performing Arts, Alto
  • Zach Colton-Max, South Orange, N.J., Golda Och Academy, Tenor
  • Donald Goodall, Detroit, Mich., Detroit School of Arts, Tenor
  • Jeremy Adler, Palos Verdes, Calif., Palos Verdes High School, Bass
  • Noah Rosner, Upper Nyack, N.Y., The Masters School, Bass


  • Luca Mendoza, Pacific Palisades, Calif., Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, Piano
  • Colson Jimenez, Woodinville, Wash., Woodinville High School, Bass
  • Erik Findling, Winnetka, Ill., New Trier Township High School, Guitar
  • Maya Stepansky, Montclair, N.J., Montclair High School, Drums

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1988 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation, and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. In recognition of the significant role of teachers in shaping their students’ musical experiences, The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation partnered to present their first Music Educator Award in 2014. Open to current U.S. music teachers in kindergarten through college, the fourth annual Music Educator Award will be given out during GRAMMY Week 2017 and nominations are being accepted for the 2018 cycle. For more information about the Foundation, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, please “like” GRAMMY in the Schools on Facebook, follow the GRAMMY Foundation on Twitter (@GRAMMYFdn) and join us on Instagram (@GRAMMYFdn).