By DAYNA DRUM | Reporter
After months of practice and hard work, young Palisadian Nicholas Steele has been named one of the National YoungArts Foundation 2016 winners.
Steele was awarded the title of Merit Winner in the jazz and keyboard category. The Harvard-Westlake School student was one of 819 applicants selected out of 12,000, which is the largest number of applications the foundation has received in its history.
“I was really excited when I won the award, as it meant that my hard work had paid off,” Steele told the Palisadian-Post.
The YoungArts Foundation was established in 1981 to help cultivate the future generation of artists of different mediums. The foundation accepts applicants from 15-18 years old from across the country.
The foundation’s winners are able to work with well-known mentors, receive cash prizes up to $10,000, access specialized scholarships and are exposed to other opportunities for recognition.
The winners are also able to participate in regional programs at the beginning of next year.
YoungArts alumni include a long list of actors, Broadway stars, musicians and authors.
Steele began learning classical piano at age 6 and transitioned to jazz piano six years ago.
“I listen to jazz music constantly and I’ve really grown to love it,” Steele said.
Steele took several months to prepare for the competition. He chose three different jazz songs—“Billie’s Bounce” by Charlie Parker, “I Got it Bad” by Duke Ellington and “Have You Met Miss Jones” by Richard Rodgers—and created his own arrangements and solos.
Once he was ready, he sent in a video recording of the prepared songs to a panel of YoungArts judges. To read a complete list of the YoungArts winners, visit youngarts.org/winners.