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Paterson, NJ Student Receives Musician of Distinction Christian McBride-Fodera Guitars Award
(Published: June 24, 2011)

Rafael Vasquez, a bass guitarist at Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts in Paterson and student at Jazz House Kids, is the recipient of the first annual Christian McBride-Fodera Guitars Award.

Vasquez was presented with a Fodera NYC Deluxe electric bass guitar 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.

The young Paterson resident was nominated for the Christian McBride-Fodera Guitars award by demonstrating superior leadership, musicianship, creativity and dedication to excellence. The new award is designed to assist serious-minded young jazz bass guitarists in the pursuit of their music. As a dedicated musician at his church, high school and Jazz House Kids evening classes, Vasquez has proven he is committed to making music a large part of his life.

"Music is the special part of my everyday living and what I want my whole life to be about," Vasquez said. "Exploring and creating music is my essence and my joy."

Vasquez's primary teacher at the Rosa L. Parks School describes the young bassist as "someone who demonstrates the potential to achieve what we as musicians would all like to achieve, that ultimate connection with the spiritual force of music." Vasquez is an extraordinary student holding a 4.22 GPA. He also studies acoustic bass as part of the Montclair State University Preparatory Orchestra.

In his role of artistic chair at Jazz House Kids, Christian McBride has mentored hundreds of students. "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 quality instrument."

World-class Brooklyn-based Fodera has been making hand-built electric guitars and basses since 1983. Owning a Fodera is special - less than 200 are made each year and are played and revered by some of the best bass and guitar players in the world. Fodera's highly skilled artisans collaborate with musicians to construct handmade bass guitars and solid body electric guitars that are works of art, responding and resonating like no other instruments available on the market today.

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. (photo by Richard Conde, from left, Joey Laurenzi, Fodera Guitars; Christian McBride, Jazz House Kids artistic chair; award winner Rafael Vasquez; Jason DeSalvo, Jazz House Board member and Fodera partner.)

More Information: https://www.jazzhousekids.org

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