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Teen Pianist Earns Top Scholarship

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CACC names musician Pyerce Oates as its first recipient of the Dennis Fortune Scholarship for Musical Excellence

images-1A featured artist during the 2012 Clifford Brown and  2013 Tony Williams Jazz Festivals, 14-year-old pianist Pyerce Oates has released two CDs, received numerous awards and impressed countless concert goers with his musical jazz renditions. Oates, a student at Cab Calloway School of the Arts, now has become the first recipient of the Dennis Fortune Scholarship for Musical Excellence at the Christina Cultural Arts Center (CACC).

The Scholarship was established in 2007 by Alan Levenson and Karen Morris, Esq. to recognize and perpetuate Mr. Fortune’s contributions as a passionate teacher and mentor of school-age music students. Mr. Fortune taught their son Josh Morris Levenson piano for many years at Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc. A multi-talented composer, record producer, performer and educator at Drexel University, Fortune has been on faculty at CCAC for 20 years.

imagesGenerous Scholarship

This scholarship provides tuition for a comprehensive, individualized full-year course of study for an aspiring middle school or high school musician with demonstrated instrumental proficiency and a commitment to jazz study.  Study may include private instruction on the scholar’s instrument (including voice); music theory; jazz history; improvisation; composition; ensemble performance; understanding the music business, technology and recording.

Pyerce first became associated with CCAC as a participant in jazz residencies at Cab Calloway presented by violinist John Blake, Jr. and saxophonist Javon Jackson. In 2012, Oates was a featured artist during the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival to premier his original composition, The History of Black, Brown and Beige. Oates begins his studies as a Dennis Fortune Scholar this fall.

Father and Son in Talent Show

Since the age of seven, Pyerce has been the church pianist at Mt. Tabor AME Zion Church in Avondale, PA. His early teachers were Crystal Simms of New Song Music Ministry and Hiroko Yamazaki at the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware. Pyerce’s jazz interest grew while at Cab Calloway under the direction of Dr. Carlton Cannon and Michael Hunter.  He released his first CD, Humble Beginnings, on G-Records in February 2009 at the age of 9. In 2011, Pyerce released a second CD, A Dad Is Like A General. The compositions pay homage to all the loving fathers in the world who are committed to their children. The title song – A Dad Is is Like A General – was inspired by the father/son duo’s experience in the Delaware talent contest, Me & My Father Have Talent Too.

Pyerce has received numerous awards: the Newark Delaware NAACP for Youth Community Service; Outstanding Soloist Award from the University of Delaware’s Jazz Festival in 2011 & 2012; and Outstanding Accompanist by Music in the Parks in Hershey, PA in 2011 & 2012. Pyerce has been a guest pianist for Governor Jack Markell’s annual holiday event at Buena Vista. Pyerce is a member of the Wilmington Youth Jazz Band, the August Quarterly Choir, and the Jazz Band & Jazz Combo at Cab Calloway. He recently performed at the Tony Williams Scholarship Jazz Festival in Philadelphia.

About Christina Cultural Arts Center

CCAC is a premier community school of the arts with a mission to make affordable arts education and multicultural programs accessible to children, teens and adults in a family environment. CCAC’s leading edge programs promote self-development, healthy lifestyles, social change, educational success and economic empowerment through integration of these four elements:

  • CCAC Teaching Artists
  • Role of Parents
  • Parent/Teacher/Student Association
  • Family Service

For more information on Christina Cultural Arts Center, visit ccacde.org, call 302.652.0101 or follow the organization@CCACDE.

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