KJ James Memorial Scholarship
The New York State Blues Festival is pleased to announce the KJ James Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded again this year to young, local musicians. Kelly “KJ” James was a professional football player for the NY Jets and a supervisor with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department. Yet he was best known for his musical career, having played with the band Triple Shot before touring nationally with Dr. Blue and the Kingsnakes. He later established a solo acoustic career as Dr. Blue.
Considered to be the father of the blues scene in Syracuse, he is credited with starting the very first local blues festival at an inn on Burnet Ave. Many believe KJ James is responsible for creating and cultivating the thriving blues scene we enjoy today in Syracuse.
James’ big heart and spirit of generosity and support for up-and-coming blues musicians was legendary in the Central New York area and beyond. Longtime friend Todd Fitzsimmons said, “KJ came to shows to support other musicians, and always made a point of going up and telling you what he liked about what you were playing…. You ended up feeling really good about what you were doing and wanting to play more.”
We feel this scholarship is a fitting extension of that generosity. We hope KJ would be proud to have his name attached to this award, which will enable future musicians to perform the music he loved so much.
Please encourage music teachers throughout Central New York to help young musicians (no more than 18 years of age) submit an application packet for a chance to win a scholarship: 1st place – $600, 2nd place – $300, and 3rd place – $100. Applicants may even get a chance to perform live on stage at this summer’s New York State Blues Festival, to be held July 7th and 8th in Clinton Square.
Ask students to submit application, essays, and a digital recording or video of their song of choice to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for the 2017 KJ James Memorial Scholarship must be received no later than June 10th, 2017.
For more information, including a downloadable application, please click here.