The Panama Jazz Festival, the Danilo Pérez Foundation, and PirateArts Experience Resort have awarded five scholarships to students from the Rogelio Josue Ibarra School in Bocas del Toro to attend the 2024 Panama Jazz Festival, January 15-20, 2024. These scholarships include an all expense paid trip to participate in the Panama Jazz Festival events for five students interested in music and their chaperones. This program is a collective effort to encourage girls and young students to play instruments and participate in various musical projects in the future.
“The importance of expanding the scholarships that we award during the Panama Jazz Festival to Bocas del Toro is that not only do the young scholarship holders’ horizons open but they are also exposed to the multi-dimensionality of music. At the festival, they will see everything from the Las Hijas Del Jazz Orchestra to the Music Therapy Symposium,” says Patricia Zárate, Executive Director of the Panama Jazz Festival.
Scholarship recipients will be able to participate in the educational events of the Panama Jazz Festival, including academic symposiums on music therapy, Afro-Panamanian culture, and the culture of Native Peoples; the rehearsals of the Daughters of the Jazz Orchestra; the festival concerts; and they will have access to the more than 300 musicians who will be participating in the more than 100 cultural activities offered by the festival.
This scholarship expands to the province of Bocas del Toro, an essential location in the development of the history of jazz in Panama and the United States that was the cradle of musical and cultural exchange since the beginning of the twentieth century between the Caribbean and North America. This city also saw the birth of notable figures of international jazz, such as the legendary Luis Russell (pictured below) and Frank Anderson, two figures honored by the Panama Jazz Festival in past years.
On December 22, 2023, PirateArts Experience Resort owner Eric Veenstra attended the 9th grade graduation at the Colegio Rogelio Josue Ibarra where he had the opportunity to announce the exciting news to students, faculty and family in attendance. He commemorate the occasion with a wholehearted personal reflection:
“Today I want to talk about the power of music. At its most basic music is physical, emotional and spiritual. It can lift us up and it can make us cry. It’s the universal language, and has the power to unite us all. Music can be very personal, but at its best it is communal. Music is both a discipline and it is freedom. Music changed my life and for that I am very grateful. It would truly be a blessing if I can give back even a small part of what music has given to me in my life.”
Congratulations to the five students chosen for this amazing scholarship opportunity, who were selected on the basis of their excellence and enthusiasm within the school music program. Pictured below left to right: Nathalie Zambrano (trombone), Neymar Gasf (clarinet), Alejandra Abrego (saxophone), Wendy Baker (trombone), Yadira Garcia (alto saxophone) and Eric Veenstra of PirateArts Experience Resort and LostBoys Blues Bar.