02/22/10

Chris Heslop to Receive Frank Scott Award

The honor will be given at the Berks Jazz Fest on March 23

Musician and educator Chris Heslop is the 2010 recipient of the Berks Arts Council’s Frank Scott Award. The annual award is given during the VF Berks Jazz Fest, which runs from March 19-28, and the winner is chosen based on their contribution and involvement in jazz in the Berks County community.

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Chris Heslop

The award is given in the name of the late jazz legend Frank Scott to honor his contributions to the Berks County jazz heritage. Heslop, who lives in Wyomissing, Pa., will accept the award on Tuesday, March 23, at a celebration in the Crowne Plaza Reading ballroom, featuring the USAF Satellite Jazz Ensemble and the Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band.

Heslop—who met Frank Scott in high school when a friend’s neighbor invited him to hear his band play—received a degree in jazz studies from Temple University and has taught saxophone, clarinet and flute in the community since 1991. Heslop has participated in the Reading Musical Foundation’s Jazz in the Schools program and was a key player in bringing together that foundation with Reading Eagle’s Voices and Zeswitz Music for the Berks Jazz Jam, a free program for students which includes use of a free CD/DVD library.

He has also served as chair of the educational activities committee for the Berks Jazz Fest and worked hard to develop clinics, performances and workshops for young Berks County musicians. Heslop obtained a grant to start the Berks Summer Jazz Workshop that will begin this June, and he and his wife, Jill M. Scheidt, created the Scheidt/Heslop Jazz Fund, a scholarship awarded annually to a student to attend a summer camp focusing primarily on jazz.

“The most important part of jazz education to me is simply exposing the highest number of students to the most variety of music,” Heslop said in a recent press release. “Although my expertise is in jazz, I want to encourage the students to explore a variety of music and not just the narrow spectrum offered by pop culture.”

Heslop continued: “When I was first notified that I was the 2010 recipient, my initial reaction was that I don’t deserve it. Then, when I was asked to list the educational activities I have either started or been a part of, I realized that we have a lot of progress in the last five years and felt both a sense of pride and a need to turn it up a notch for the future.”

Scott was born in Reading and played with many notable musicians throughout his career such as Bing Crosby and Ray Charles. Among his many contributions to the community, Scott opened two nightclubs in the Reading area.

The 20th annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 19-28. For more information visit Berks Jazz Fest or Berks Arts Council.

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