The Stanley Kay Swingin' Scholarship for Big Band Drummers

Stanley Kay

"If you LOVE [drumming] you will definitely succeed as a player. If you LIKE it, you should do something else!"
—Stanley Kay

Stanley Kay is well known for his on-going stint as manager of the Buddy Rich Band and also for drumming in Buddy's stead. Throughout the 1940s, 50s, & 60s Stanley played for musical greats Patti Paige, Frankie Laine and Josephine Baker. He went on to conduct and create acts for show biz icons Maurice and Gregory Hines ("Hines, Hines and Dad") and actress Michele Lee. In the 1980s he became Entertainment Director for The New York Yankees and in 1992 founded the world-renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Stanley remained DIVA's creative force and CEO until his passing in June, 2010.

Sherrie Maricle and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra will honor the musical legacy, integrity, creativity and excellence of Stanley Kay through his scholarship, offering an opportunity for a seriously swingin' big band drummer between the ages of 15—21 to attend any two-week session of The New York Summer Music Festival (see for details) free of charge.*

Donate to the Stanley Kay Scholarship Fund:**

Click here for a donation form to print and send with your check or money order. Contributions may be sent to The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, 1 River Place, Suite 817, New York, NY, 10036. Checks should be made out to "The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Ltd." with "SK Scholarship" indicated in the memo.

Or make your donation via PayPal by clicking the “Donate” button:

Apply for the Stanley Kay Scholarship:

The application deadline for the 2013 Stanley Kay Scholarship has passed. Please check back for 2013 application information.

Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 21 (15 or older; 21 or younger) on May 31, 2013.
Include the following:
1.) A cover letter expressing WHY this opportunity would make a difference in the applicant's musical life. Be sure to include up-do-date contact information in the form of postal and email addresses.
2.) A CD or DVD of the applicant's big band playing. Tracks should be edited to include only the head and shout choruses. Alternatively, if full-length tracks are submitted, applicant should include time cues indicating where on each track the head and shout chorus can be found. At least three tracks are required, one selection in each of these styles:
a.) Medium or up-tempo swing
b.) Ballad
c.) Either Afro-Cuban (mambo, songo, cha-cha, etc) or Brazilian (Samba, Bossa-Nova, Baiao, etc)
d.) Additional selection (OPTIONAL) - applicant's choice to showcase what s/he does best
3.) A letter of recommendation from a music teacher (private teacher, band director, regional ensemble conductor, etc.).

Cover letter, recording, and recommendation letter must be submitted together. Application packets may be sent to The DIVA Jazz Orchestra; 1 River Place, Suite 817, New York, NY 10036, with "SK Scholarship" written on the envelope flap.

CDs and other application materials cannot be returned.

Application packet must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2013

*Scholarship award covers NYSMF fees only. Transportation and any other additional expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient.

**Donations to the Stanley Kay Scholarship Fund are not tax-deductible.

2013 scholarship winner Merlin Alexander Joseph, Jr.

Merlin Joseph, Jr. is a born musician. Merlin started playing drums at age 2, when his Little Tike drum was his favorite toy. He has since grown to become a master of percussion instruments with a passion for the drum set and jazz music. Merlin also plays the piano and trumpet.

Merlin is from Binghamton, NY, where he is a rising senior at Binghamton High School and a music student of Mr. Joel Smales and Chris Adams. Merlin’s music resume is robust, as he is a member of the six band ensembles at Binghamton High School offers.

As a result of his participation in the Steel Drum Band, Merlin has been fortunate to travel throughout the Northeast to perform. Some of his most noted performances include on-stage appearances in Akron, Ohio in November 2012 with the legendary Harry Belafonte, and performing in New York City aboard the USS Intrepid.

Merlin has also been honored with several other awards including being selected to perform in the Broome County Music Educators Association (BCMEA) music festival two years in a row, performing with the Area- All State Orchestra Symphony for percussion, and the Teen Jazz Project.

In 2013, Merlin performed three level VI All-State auditions and garnered a score of 100% on his Jazz Drum Set solo. He looks forward to majoring in percussion performance in college. His drumming mentors are Bernie Dresel, Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, and Billy Hart.

Merlin feels honored and privileged to have won the Stanley Kay scholarship. He would like to thank the scholarship committee, his teachers, mentors, family and friends for giving him motivation, confidence, and support.

Past winners

Fred Griggs, 2012

Fred Griggs is a jazz drummer from Central Pennsylvania. He is a current student of Paul Gallello, Dave Lazorcik, and Sherrie Maricle of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Other mentors include Steve Rudolph, Steve Meashey, Jim Wood, Ron Waters, and Jonathan Ragonese. Highlights of his young career include performing at the PMEA District 7 Jazz, Concert Band, and Orchestra Festivals. Fred has also had the great honor of performing with the 2012 PMEA All-State Jazz Band.
Fred also serves as a Student Representative on the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Board of Directors. As a rising senior, Fred is honored to have been selected for the Stanley Kay Swingin' Big Band Scholarship.

Isabelle DeLeon, 2011

The winner of the inaugural Stanley Kay Scholarship award is Isabelle DeLeon. "March to the tempo of your own beat" is her motto, and it sums up her approach to music and life. Learning piano at the age of 4 and drums at the age of 7, she has spent all her life playing music but also finds time to pursue her many other interests. A rising junior at the University of Maryland, she is studying both jazz drum performance and pre-medicine, is a distinguished College Park Scholar, and a Dean's List student as well. One of the few undergraduates in UMD's top jazz ensemble, she attributes much of her growth to the mentoring of her teacher Chuck Redd, with whom she has also had the privilege to perform around the DC area.
In April 2011, she was a featured performer with the Jen Krupa - Leigh Pilzer Quintet at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History for a celebration of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and the launching of Jazz Appreciation Month. In 2008 she won the Washington Post Music and Dance Scholarship Award for her performance on drums. Isabelle is thrilled to add the Stanley Kay Scholarship to her list of awards she's earned.
Isabelle manages to practice and perform regularly with her family band, Ivy Rose, where she is one of the contributing songwriters and arrangers, backup vocalist, and the drummer and recording pianist. Continually gaining prominence in the DC music scene, they had the honor to open for Weezer and Ben Folds last year and have played as far as Toronto, Ontario, and New York City.
Isabelle is thrilled to have just won the Stanley Kay Scholarship to attend the New York Summer Festival this July, is thankful to God, her family, teachers and friends who have supported her along the way, and is grateful for all the privileges she has had.