Accomplishments & Recognition


Jazz House Kids at Essentially EllingtonAllow us to toot our own horn!

We are proud of the growing number of awards and accolades given to our students, director, and organization. A handful are here; we welcome you to download this complete list.

In 2014

Four Jazz House Kids students are selected from 10,000 applicants to participate in the prestigious 2014 National YoungArts Week. Only six students nationwide are chosen to be National Young Arts scholars in jazz. Three of them are among 60 nominated to be 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

Four students are selected to participate in the GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session—more than 12% of the entire band of 32 students from across the country.

Jazz House Kids founder and executive director Melissa Walker receives NJBIZ Best 50 Women in Business Award for women who have been making headlines in their field.

Jazz House Big Band is selected (for the 2nd consecutive year) to participate in the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival…and wins Best Big Band, Specialized School Category, in the Charles Mingus Big Band Competition and Festival. Six students receive soloist awards.

In 2013…

Jazz House Big Band wins 2nd place in Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival from among 15 finalists and 96 entries from across the country. Students take 8 soloist awards.  

In the DownBeat magazine Student Jazz Awards, a Jazz House Kids student wins Junior High School Jazz Category; another is cited for Outstanding Performance for Composition for a second consecutive year; a third is cited for original composition – lead sheet in the High School Outstanding Performance Category.

A Jazz House Kids student wins a $25,000 Davidson Fellows Scholarship, one of the world’s most prestigious student awards, and becomes the first student in history to win for jazz performance. Only twenty fellows are selected nationwide each year.

A 10-year-old Jazz House Kids student becomes the youngest winner of the ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Composers Award.

Nine Jazz House Kids students are selected for the New Jersey Association of Jazz Educators All State Big Band.

Melissa Walker receives the Jazz Journalists Association’s Jazz Hero Award, given to “activists, advocates, altruists, aiders and abettors of jazz who have had significant impact in their local communities.”

In 2012…

Melissa Walker is honored with the BlueWaveNJ  Community Service Award.

Jazz House Big Band wins Best Big Band, Specialized School Category in the Charles Mingus High School Competition, as well as Best Small Group, Specialized Combo, and 8 Outstanding Student Soloist Awards.

Jazz House Kids graduates are now attending:

Berklee College of Music; Columbia University; the Juilliard School; Northwestern University; Rutgers University Jazz Program; University of Virginia; Howard University Music Program; Oberlin College; Montclair State University; Princeton University; University of Miami Frost School of Music.