Susan Geoffrion Parks Scholarship & Festival Fund
Part of NEJEF’s mission was to start a fund that would benefit students in pursuing their goals within music. A struggle many families continue to face is providing the funds for after-school music lessons and even musical instruments.
Founding member, Susan Geoffrion Parks had a passion, energy and idea for music education, mental health and community as they were a vital part of the continuing growth and direction for both the Newton Jazz Festival and the New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation. She was notably interested in providing a scholarship program that would help a student pursue and excel in music education. Finally, in 2014 what was once a dream became a reality as the first Susan Geoffrion Parks Scholarship was awarded to Cassandra Pearl Wise.
Susan passed away unexpectedly in 2015. With heavy hearts we go forward and hope that we are able to continue making many of Susan’s ideas, desires and dreams a reality. The scholarship & festival fund has been dedicated to the memory of Susan in honor of her efforts to make the NEJEF dream, a reality.
Your donation greatly affects the future of musicians and enhances the lives of our youth who might see music as a benefit to their daily lives as well as their education. Please visit our ‘Get Involved’ page to learn more on how you can donate or participate as partner or sponsor.
Cassandra Pearl- 2014 was a milestone in the development for New England Jazz Enrichment Foundation as we came to know 16-year old aspiring vocalist Cassandra Pearl. Cassandra had recently lost both of her parents. With music as her guide, she came to the attention of NEJEF via her association with the Lowell Summer Jazz Day Camp program led by Stanley Swan. Out of that program, Cassandra connected with a few like-minded teen musicians to form the band Ken- YaDig. The band performed at the 2013 JazzBoston/NEJEF High School Jazz Band Showcase and the 2013 and 2014 Newton Jazz Festivals.
Cassandra was a guest performer at 2014’s “Celebrating Ella.” Not only did she knock the audience out of their seats with her rendition of “The Man I Love”, she was presented with the first-ever NEJEF scholarship. Now officially named the Susan Geoffrion Festival Scholarship. This scholarship fund has been instituted as a need-based award for lessons, instrument rentals and festival trips for those who may see music as a pathway to a better life.