Stars of tomorrow shine today at Jazz Fest

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival brings in some big named talent to perform. But Monday night on Jazz Street was all about the up and coming talent.

Rochester, N.Y. - Ryan Barski been playing drums for 14 years, but never did he think his love for music would lead him to playing Jazz Street.

“I never thought I'd reach a point doing something like this or even be up on stage playing at one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world,” said the Honeoye Falls-Lima High School grad. “It's pretty surreal.”

And this fall, he and four others will be able to continue to follow their passion at the Eastman School of Music thanks to the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival/Eastman School of Music Jazz Scholarship.

Without this scholarship, Barski said he wouldn’t be able to attend his dream school

“This honor is what made me want to go to this school,” he told 13WHAM before performing Monday night.

He's one of two local recipients in that performance. Dylan Ocorr graduated from Charles Finney School; his expertise in the tenor sax

“I've been performing at Jazz Fest for 5 or 6 years. Started in some little combo group, then playing Kodak Hall with EYJO and places all around."

A big part of the festival is investing in the next generation.

For 15 years, these scholarships have been helping gifted students studying jazz at Eastman School of Music offset tuition costs.

“We love the jazz and partnership with Marc and John,” said Jeff Campbell, Chair of Jazz at Eastman School of Music. “These guys are amazing they do so much for the community and for us to partner with them and the school is really rewarding to see these students come to school.”

The students are grateful for a chance to carry on a tradition

“I'm really blessed to be going to a school like this,” Ocorr said.

“To be able to possibly hold a legacy carried on by my school is what inspires me to make something great out of this,” said Barski.

Monday night was the first time the five scholarship winners were preforming together.

The other three recipients are Yvonne Rogers (from Maine), Jamal Kemp (from Pennsylvania) and Maxwell Caine (from New Jersey). To learn more about the winners, click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off