Thank you to the following people who generously donated to the Scholarship Fund in 2024:
Nancy & Edward Arrieta
Bruce & Beverly Athon
Barry Hensley & Terry Baxter
Kathryn Crossin
Shelly Gallichio & Ken Arnold

Thank you to the following people who generously donated to the General Fund in 2024:
Bruce & Beverly Athon
 Ed & Linda Best
MaryBeth Cruden
Irl Cramer
Marsha & John French
Lynne & Bob Jaseph
Janet & Dave McLaughlin
Alan & Sue Percival
Jeanne Roberts
Mike & Donna Wolsted

As finances permit, The San Diego Jazz Party awards scholarships to students who went to High School in the San Diego area and are enrolled as full time undergraduates studying Jazz at any nonprofit College or University in the United States.

As finances permit, The San Diego Jazz Party awards scholarships to students who went to High School in the San Diego area and are enrolled as full time undergraduates studying Jazz at any nonprofit College or University in the United States.
Evaluation criteria include:
  • Musical ability and stage presence
  • Financial need
  • Academic achievement
  • Scholarships will be awarded to new or continuing students as funds are available.
  • Children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews of San Diego Jazz Party Board Members are not eligible for the scholarships
  • San Diego Jazz Party is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization chartered under federal and California law. Contributions are fully tax-deductible. San Diego Jazz Party Scholarships are derived from donations, grants, bequests and fundraising activities of the San Diego Jazz Party
to apply, please print the following forms out, fill out completely, and mail or email to:
Chair, Scholarship Committee
San Diego Jazz Party
5548 Lancaster Drive
San Diego, CA 92120

2023 Scholarship Winners

Mitchell Peyton

Mitchell Peyton is a graduate of Valley Center High School and is currently attending Palomar College. He has been playing alto saxophone since he was 10 years old and branched out to learn other woodwind instruments such as clarinet and tenor saxophone. As a graduate of the Valley Center Education System, Mitchell was under the direction of Jeffery Beck and Barry Cahill. Mitchell's musical education was rooted in the early morning jazz band practices during middle school and high school years. From there, he expanded his knowledge of jazz by taking recommendations of who to listen to, researching solos that piqued his interest, and attempting to perfect them by utilizing techniques he had learned. Some of which include Charlie Parker's solo on "Groovin High", Sonny Stitt's solo on "Killing Blues", and Eric Marienthal's solo on "The Jazz Police". After Palomar College, Mitchell plans to attend either SDSU, UCLA, or UCSB to further his jazz studies.

Ben Delgado

Ben Delgado, a 2022 graduate of Mission Bay High School, is studying music and the music industry with Professor Nick Volz at Loyola University in New Orleans. Ben began his music studies at age six with piano lessons taught by Kenneth Ard. In 3rd grade, Ben discovered the trumpet; he took lessons with Jordan Morita and Carlos Roldan. By the start of 4th grade Ben was playing in the San Diego Youth Symphony. In 2016, Ben joined the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory (YLJC) where he was in several ensembles taught by founder and artistic director Gilbert Castellanos, including the New Soil ensemble, the recipient of Downbeat’s 44th and 45th Annual Student Music Awards for Small Jazz Combo outstanding performances. The YLJC has afforded Ben many performance opportunities, including at top venues like The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park and the San Diego Symphony Hall to weekly jam sessions at Panama 66 in Balboa Park to special events such as Classics for Kids, organized by Rob Thorson.

2022 Scholarship Winners

Kahir Brown

Kahir Brown is a percussionist and an aspiring music producer and composer. He started his path learning how to play African drums in elementary school. In middle school he pursued concert band percussion instruments such as the marimba, timpani and more. Brown studied with multiple tutors such as Matt Dibiase, Kevin Higuchi, and Greg Harris over the years to sharpen his skills on drums, music production and music theory. He is attending San Diego State University to study music production, film, game scoring and composition.

Connor Gilbert

Connor Gilbert, a graduate of Mission Bay High School, first transitioned from the electric bass to the upright bass at the age of 12, under the instruction of Rob Thorsen. Entering his first year in high school, he participated in two separate programs, the Mission Bay High music department, and the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. At Mission Bay, under the instruction of JP Balmat, Connor took multiple music courses over all four years, and had major performance opportunities, such as gigs in New Orleans, LA and Yokohama and Tokyo, Japan, the San Diego Jazz Festival, House of Blues, The Balboa Theater, opening for Joey Alexander, and the San Diego Jazz Party, with the Preservationists Jazz Band. He received the Top Student Award in Performing Arts for all four years of high school, and in his junior year, won the district-wide VAPA Spotlight Award for Artistic Achievement. At the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory, Connor studied under Gilbert Castellanos, and had many performances at venues like Panama 66 and Copley Symphony Hall, and was given the reins to create his own ensemble and showcase to open at a concert featuring the alumni bands of Mongo Santamaria and Jack Costanzo. Some of Connor’s favorite jazz styles include hard bop, neo-soul, Afro-Cuban, and New Orleans style, and some of his favorite jazz artists include Horace Silver, Ornette Coleman, Ray Brown, Christian McBride, and Lee Morgan. In the fall, Connor will be attending UCLA, where he will major in Global Jazz Studies, and study with Roberto Miranda, Terrence Blanchard, Arturo O'Farrill, and Hitomi Oba.

Christian Rodriguez

Christian Rodriguez graduated from Grossmont College spring of 2023. Christian Has been playing guitar for seven years. He started playing guitar when he began high school. During high school he was part of the jazz band, mambo ensemble and the gypsy jazz group at Mission Bay, he was also part of Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. Throughout high school, Christian studied under Javier Batiz, Martine Castro, Ian Buss, and Gilbert Castellanos. During the summers he attended UCSD Jazz Camp (2018), Francis Parker Jazz Camp (2020), YLJC’s Summer Workshop (2020), and Jazz At Lincoln Center jazz camp (2020). He studied under world class musicians during the jazz camps such as, Mark Dresser, Peter Spreague, Endea Owens, Marcus Printup, James Chirillo, and Winton Marsalis. When attending Grossmont College (2020- 2023), he studied under Fred Benedetti, and Bob Boss. While he attended Grossmont, he was acknowledged by the students and the college. He was known as the face of the music department. After graduating Grossmont, Christian traveled to New York to experience the music culture in the big city, he had the chance to play alongside Vinny Raniolo and had a class with him while visiting New York. Christians new chapter will start this upcoming fall (2023). He will be attending UCLA as a Global Jazz Studies Major, and will be studying under Jacques Lesure.

2020 Scholarship Winners

Carmen Murray

Carmen Murray, a recent graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, has been playing the jazz drums since 5th grade. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the likes of Gilbert Castellanos, Jeff Hamilton, John Reynolds, and Jason Marsalis, and has been greatly inspired by musicians such as Ray Brown, Max Roach, and Joe Henderson. In the fall, Carmen will be attending New York University, where she will study privately with Billy Drummond.

2019 Scholarship Winners

Tate McKay

Tate is currently attending The School for Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego. He started playing guitar when he was 9. His other instruments are piano, upright bass, cello and alto sax. He had the honor of studying extensively with Glen Fisher, Grant Fleener, John Reynolds and Gilbert Castellanos. In the Fall he will be studying jazz guitar at DePaul University with Bob Palmieri and Dana Hall. McKay’s passion for jazz is not limited to straight-ahead jazz, as he also loves neo-soul and other jazz fusion genres. He has had great experiences connecting with audiences playing rock, soul and R&B, too. Inspirational artists for McKay include Joe Pass, Robert Glasper, Clifford Brown and Snarky Puppy.

Tiger Diep

Tiger Diep, a recent graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, has been playing the saxophone since the age of 11. Aside from the saxophone, he doubles on other instruments as well such as the clarinet, flute, EWI (electronic wind instrument), and the piano. Tiger is grateful to have had amazing teachers and mentors such as Jeffrey Benedict, Gilbert Castellanos, Julius Tolentino, as well as John Reynolds who have helped him up to this point. In the fall, Tiger will be attending New York University to study privately and receive instruction from Mark Turner, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, and Dave Pietro.

Sam Kredich

Sam Kredich attended Del Norte High school and played four years in their music program. He has been playing the trumpet since he was ten, but has also played and taken lessons for piano, guitar, ukulele, and vocals. Outside high school, he participated in the International academy of Jazz as well as the Young Lions Conversatory under the direction of Gilbert Castellanos. Through his association with Castellanos, he was part of the opening group for a tribute to Mongo Santamaria and Jack Costanzo at Bayside Summer Nights at Embarcadero Marina in July of 2019. He also was part of the opening group for the Roots of Rhythm concert at Copley Symphony Hall as part of the Jazz at Jacobs Series. Under the direction of Andy Geib, Kredich was in the Ambassadors of Soul, a high school funk group that travels around gigging in areas like Ocean beach and Balboa Park. Attending UCLA’s Global Jazz Studies program in 2019, he has studied under the likes of master pianist, composer, and bandleader Arturo O’Farrill, versatile saxophonist and LA Signal Labs co-founder Hitomi Oba, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra’s Doctor James Ford and Tamir Hendelman, prolific saxophonist Charles Owens, and acclaimed studio musician and Orenda Records founder Dan Rosenboom. Sam Kredich also took part in the recording of BTS’ three-time winning MTV Video Music Award song ON, in which he played third trumpet. He will continue his studies in the Fall Quarter of 2021, as he enters his third year as an undergraduate.

2018 Scholarship Winners

Eric Wesling

Eric Wesling has quickly established himself as one of the finest young guitarists in San Diego. Eric started playing guitar at a young age at Crown Point Junior Music Academy. His passion for music and the guitar led him to Mission Bay High School where he was selected to perform with the Preservationists. This ensemble allowed him to grow as a soloist and performer, traveling to New Orleans and Japan with the group. Eric currently studies with local jazz guitarist Joey Carano. He also performs in the Young Lions Series, curated by local jazz great, Gilbert Castellanos. Under his instruction, Eric has performed at Copley Symphony Hall, Tedx Talks, the Next Generation Jazz Festival and The Fullerton Jazz Festival. Eric recently was accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and received a $30,000 scholarship while attending the Berklee Summer Jazz Guitar Workshop.

Edward Gabrielyan

Edward Gabrielyan found his love for playing piano at Mission Bay High School during his freshman year. A self-taught musician, Edward immersed himself into the world of jazz, studying the greats and finding inspiration through musicians like Art Artum, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. During his time at Mission Bay, he performed with the Preservationists, the school’s top performance ensemble. In this group he studied Traditional New Orleans Jazz and earned the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, and most recently, Japan to perform. At a young age, Edward’s list of accomplishments and performance opportunities is quite impressive. He has performed with such jazz greats as Wendell Brunious, Lucian Barbarin, Delfeayo Marsalis, Chris Botti and Gilbert Castellanos. Edward has opened for Cecile McLoren Salvant at the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops and has performed several times at Copley Symphony Hall. He is currently studying with two-time Grammy Award-Winning pianist Kamau Kenyatta, and was just accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston.