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.
Beginning today, 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 Nov. 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.”