(RED BANK, NJ) -- The Count Basie Center for the Arts and New Jersey Hall Of Fame band The Smithereens have announced details on the 2024 Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship, named in honor of the New Jersey band’s legendary frontman, who passed away in December 2017. Interested students aged 18 and under may apply by completing the online form and submitting an audition video at thebasie.org/dinizio. Deadline for submissions is November 15 and finalists will be announced December 1.
Scholarship winners can choose from any Basie musical performance program, including the Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music, Lakehouse Music Academy at the Basie or the Jazz Arts Academy.
“All of us in The Smithereens began our lifelong love affairs with music at a tender age,” said Dennis Diken, founding member and drummer of The Smithereens. “It’s gratifying to know that the annual Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship at the Count Basie Center for the Arts is helping to foster creativity in young people at a time in their lives when they can look forward to following their muse with their whole lives ahead of them.”
At the time of his passing, DiNizio and The Smithereens had just announced plans for a Basie Center performance to be hosted by E Street Band guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Steven Van Zandt. The concert instead became a tribute to DiNizio, featuring Smithereens bandmates Diken, Jim Babjak and Mike Mesaros, fronted by an array of vocalists including Marshall Crenshaw, Ted Leo, Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson, Scandal’s Patty Smyth, Freedy Johnston, Richard Barone, Severo Jornacion and others. A portion of sales from that concert and money raised worldwide during a live webcast of the show helped create the scholarship fund.
“The Smithereens are an appreciated, integral part of New Jersey’s celebrated music scene,” said Samantha Giustiniani, Vice President, Education and Outreach, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “We are proud that a scholarship exists in co-founder and lead singer Pat DiNizio’s name to allow a new generation of music performers find themselves and express themselves through the performing arts.”
The Count Basie Center for the Arts is New Jersey’s premier center for the cultural arts, dedicated to fostering powerful, inclusive artistic experiences and creative exchange of ideas. The Basie mission is to inspire, educate and entertain through its distinct and engaging cultural and artistic offerings that reflect the diversity of the region. As a nonprofit organization, the Basie is committed to enriching the community’s quality of life by generating opportunities for participation in the arts, partnering with schools, collaborating with other mission-based organizations and driving regional economic prosperity. The Basie Center has hosted an array of world-class artists, including Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, Crosby Stills & Nash, Tony Bennett, Sophia Loren and Ringo Starr. Count Basie Center programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Founded in New Jersey in 1980 by Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros, and Pat DiNizio, The Smithereens have been creating electrifying, original rock’n’roll for 42 years. Their take no prisoners sound, reflecting their Garden State roots, has resonated with fans worldwide over the course of 18 albums and 2500+ live shows. Sadly, DiNizio passed away in 2017 but the band has decided to carry on their shared musical legacy with guest vocalists, including Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms. Their most recent release, The Lost Album, features 12 songs recorded in 1993 when they were between labels but were never before available - until now!