Thursday, November 14, 2013

UNO Freshman Wins University's Gordon Scholarship in Brass

First-year student Devin Belton saw his academic and music careers crescendo last night as he received the University's first Gordon Scholarship in Brass, an award established last year with a gift from local jazz enthusiasts.

Belton is a "an outstanding young trumpet player," said UNO Music Department Chair Charles Taylor,.

Taylor, together with University President Peter J. Fos, as well as scholarship founders Nathan and Priscilla Gordon, recognized Belton with his award at last night's Jazz at the Sandbar performance by renowned jazz pianist Jeff Gardner.

Belton received the University's first Gordon Scholarship in Brass, established last year with a $25,000 gift from the Gordons, who reside in New Orleans as well as Reno, Nevada. The jazz enthusiasts established their gift to UNO to help continue the evolution of jazz in New Orleans, said Nathan Gordon, a trumpet player. The Gordons are active supporters of the local jazz scene and UNO's acclaimed Jazz at the Sandbar series, where UNO students perform alongside jazz professionals.

The Gordons aimed with their gift to help continue and enhance the jazz tradition in New Orleans and help students get the best possible instruction, said Nathan Gordon.

The Gordon Scholarship in Brass will be presented each semester to a new undergraduate student who is majoring in jazz at UNO and demonstrates talent in playing a brass instrument. Recipients of the Gordon Scholarship are eligible to receive the $500 scholarship for a maximum of eight consecutive semesters, as long as they remain in good standing with the University, said UNO Director of Advancement Judith Roberson.

Belton, a freshman music major in the University's jazz studies program, attended Tift County High School in Tifton, Georgia and was heavily involved in the schools marching band, concert ensemble, and jazz band, said Taylor. During his high school career, he received titles of section leader, brass captain, president of the music department, and is also a recipient of the John Phillip Sousa and Louis Armstrong national music awards.

The talented freshman has participated in numerous music festivals and competitions throughout the South, earning titles including Best Jazz Soloist and Best Ensemble. Belton even helped his jazz band place fifth in the nation at the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia.

The first-year student grew up in New Orleans and his parents are UNO alumni.


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