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(Published: June 23, 2011)

The Musician of Distinction Award is presented to young New Jersey musicians who embody the qualities Jazz House Kids seeks to foster-leadership, musicianship, creativity and dedication to excellence. The Musician of Distinction Award is both a merit and need-based award. Saxophonist, Darien Bravo of East Orange and tuba player, Brelle Walker of Montclair are the recipients of the third annual Jazz House Kids and RS Berkeley Musical Instruments Musician of Distinction Award. Both Darien and Brelle were each awarded a new RS Berkeley professional instrument and one year of music mentoring from a Jazz House Kids professional Jazz musician.

The awards were presented at the culmination of Inside the Jazz Note®, an all-day Jazz House Kids program of teaching, talking and performance led by special guest NEA Jazz Master and 16-time Grammy® winner, Chick Corea. The event was hosted by Grammy-winning virtuoso of the electric and acoustic bass, Christian McBride at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on June 2.

A senior at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Fine & Performing Arts, Darien Bravo received an RS Berkeley professional tenor saxophone from the company's Virtuoso series. A dynamic tenor saxophonist, Bravo has been described as "having an overall tone and presence on the tenor sax that is big, warm and fills the room. He also has the ability to have some edge when needed and he has great control over the different articulations."

Bravo feels a special affinity toward the sax. "A musician without an instrument is no one," he said. "Through their instruments, musicians express their creative ideas to the world. From the first time I picked up a saxophone, I knew it was the instrument for me."

A senior at Montclair High School, Brelle Walker was awarded an RS Berkeley Artist Series - ¾ size 4 valve Bbb Tuba. This is the first instrument Walker has owned. She began playing the tuba five years ago, and has excelled as both a classical and jazz musician. According to her music teacher at school, Walker shows a genuine love of and natural aptitude for music and performance.

"I love jazz music because in more ways than one, it has transformed me as a person," Walker remarked. "It is something that has pushed me and allowed me to see the true effort required to become a good musician."

Both Musician of Distinction award winners will be bringing their instruments to college. Bravo was accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts. Walker heads to the music program at Montclair State University.

"Jazz House Kids has always helped young musicians find their voice and part of finding that voice is the basic tool of a working instrument," said McBride. "With this award, we can literally change someone's life. An already promising future for a young musician looks even better with a good instrument." In his role as creative chair of Jazz House Kids, Christian McBride has mentored hundreds of students.

Jazz House Kids is a community-based inter-generational organization that provides year-round musical,educational and cultural programs to students in grades K-12, teachers, adults and families from diverse backgrounds. Internationally renowned jazz performers teach alongside the professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, leadership, and strengthens academic performance. The "Jazz House" provides the framework inside which all students can learn the skills and principles required to play, sing, and appreciate America's homegrown music. Through music, mentoring and education Jazz House Kids cultivates tomorrow's global citizens so they may build vibrant communities where they live. For more information, please visit www.jazzhousekids.org.

Since 2002, RS Berkeley has offered the most complete and innovative selection of brass, woodwind and string instruments. Generations of musicians trust RS Berkeley to provide instruments that maximize their playing ability and improve the clarity, intonation and sound of their instruments, while protecting their investment with the finest materials at affordable prices.

RS Berkeley also sponsors Jazz House Kids Give an Instrument Build a Musician program that puts free rental instruments in the hands of children from struggling families allowing them to participate in school band programs.

For more information, please visit www.rsberkeley.com


More Information: http://www.rsberkeley.com

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