N.C. Central University Jazz Program Touts New Scholarships

Posted November 25, 2019, 3:50PM

Two jazz studies majors from N.C. Central University’s department of music were selected as recipients of a four-year scholarship from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation.

NCCU was chosen by the foundation to receive this award which helps bring a new level of prestige and recognition to the jazz studies program. The scholarship provides a new benchmark for NCCU and is a testament to the hard work and resolve of the students and staff who made this possible. 

Jawan Davidson, a sophomore voice student majoring in jazz studies, and Brandon Seaforth, freshman trombonist jazz studies major are the initial recipients of the scholarships.

“My parents were ecstatic,” Davidson said. “They know how I feel about Ella Fitzgerald. I was also really excited. I wasn’t expecting to be one of the recipients, and it’s a great honor.”

Jawan Davidson, '22, voice student majoring in jazz studies.

Seaforth is truly grateful to the EFCF for the opportunity they have provided.

The foundation representatives made their initial contact with the program in January during the 10th annual Jazz Education Network Conference in Reno, Nevada, when their interest was piqued by the excellent performance by NCCU students.

Foundation officials also noted the maturity of NCCU’s student vocalists and instrumentalists who demonstrated a high-level of distinction associated with the name and legacy of Ella Fitzgerald. Multiple foundation board members visited the NCCU exhibition booth during the jazz conference and ultimately scheduled a visit to campus in May.

The visiting board member arrived on campus and was greeted by an on-campus concert performed by the jazz ensemble and vocal jazz ensemble. Shortly after that visit, the scholarships were awarded.

Assistant professor Lenora Helm Hammonds, director of vocal jazz ensemble, said it was a dream come true to be selected for the scholarship program.

“For us, it means they deem our students worthy of support and recognition.”

Dr. Ira Wiggins, director of the jazz studies program, noted that the recognition and support embodies the high ideals and standards of the NCCU jazz studies program, which represent the program’s underlying mission.

For more information about the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, visit http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/foundation.

Brandon Seaforth, '23, trombonist and jazz studies major.

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