The winners of the New Jersey Jazz Society's 2023 Juried Scholarship Competition are: Trombonist Richard LaRouech, Buffalo, NY, William Paterson University Jazz Studies Program ($1,000 prize for Performance); Trumpeter Banks Sapnar, Haddonfield, NJ, Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, Jazz Studies. ($1,000 prize for Composition); Saxophonist Joseph Foglia of Raleigh, NC, William Paterson University Jazz Studies Program ($500 prize for Performance); and Trumpeter Grace Fox of Marlton, NJ, Manhattan School of Music ($500 prize for Composition).
The competition was open to all college students currently enrolled in a New Jersey college undergraduate music program and all New Jersey college students enrolled in an out-of-state college undergraduate music program. Along with the cash awards, the winning students will also receive guidance, mentorship, and the opportunity to perform with an industry professional.
The NJJS Scholarship Competition is generously supported by Nan Hughes Poole. The judges were: trombonist Mariel Bildsten, saxophonist/flutist/educator Don Braden, trumpeter/educator Ted Chubb, and Jason Olaine, Director of Programming and Touring for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
LaRouech, a junior majoring in jazz performance and education at William Paterson, is one of the main featured soloists in the WP Jazz Orchestra. David Demsey, WP Coordinator of Jazz Studies, recommended LaRouech for the scholarship, calling him “among the strongest players we have had in our jazz program in a long time.”
Richard LaRouech, photo by Simon Thomas
While in high school, Sapnar was a member of the New Jersey All State Jazz Band in 2019 (under the direction of Pete McGuinness) and in 2018 (under the direction of Walt Weiskopf). He was also a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-National Honors Jazz Ensemble and studied at JALC’s Summer Jazz Academy. He was recognized as an Outstanding Trumpet Player at JALC’s Jack Rudin Championship where his big band chart, “Red Braid” was performed by the Temple University Jazz Band.
Banks Sapnar, photo by Lawrence Suulong
A sophomore Jazz Studies major, Foglia is studying saxophone at WPU with tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, a longtime member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. Foglia is also a member of William Paterson’s Chamber Jazz Quintet directed by alto saxophonist Vincent Herring. Demsey said Foglia, “has a very strong and rapidly expanding jazz vocabulary.”
Joseph Foglia, photo by Fred Politinksy
Fox fell in love with playing lead trumpet and writing for a jazz orchestra while attending Cherokee High School in her hometown of Marlton, NJ. She was inspired by the documentary, The Girls in the Band and assembled the Grace Fox Big Band, an all-female jazz orchestra which released its first album, Eleven O’Seven, in March 2022. The band will be performing August 3 as part of JALC’s Jazz in Times Square concert series. Trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt, who recommended Fox for the NJJS Scholarship, called the big band project that she organized and produced “a spectacular achievement.”
Grace Fox, photo courtesy of Grace Fox
The New Jersey Jazz Society (NJJS) is a non-profit organization of business and professional people, musicians, teachers, students, and listeners working together for the purpose of advancing jazz music.