2005-2006 Presidential Scholars

2005–2006 Presidential Scholars
Photo by Michael Franzini

Jeffrey Fajardo, a drummer from Denver, Colorado, is the recipient of the Juan Luis Guerra Presidential Scholarship. He comes from a family of musicians and began playing club gigs before reaching his teens. While attending the Denver School of the Arts high school, he was part of the Jazz Workshop Orchestra that competed in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Festival Competition. He was selected for the Colorado All-State Jazz Band and the 2004 Mile High All-Star Big Band. Fajardo's professional work includes performing with the Denver-based Latin jazz group Amanecer. He plans to major in performance and music business/management.

Victor Gould, a pianist from Los Angeles, is the recipient of the Herbie Hancock Presidential Scholarship. He has been awarded chairs in the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation All-Star Band and the 2005 Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Band. He attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, augmented his studies at the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program, and was selected for the Brubeck Summer Institute Program. Gould's honors include the Los Angeles Music Center's 2004 Spotlight Award and the Charles (Dolo) Coker Scholarship Foundation prize. Among the professional groups he has played with is the quartet of L.A.–based jazz and film composer Jason Goldman. He aspires to be a jazz musician and composer.

Robert Hanlon is a saxophonist from Seattle, Washington, with eclectic tastes and talents. He has won many soloist awards at jazz festivals, including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Essentially Ellington Competition. But he has also made forays into playing rock, funk, and hip-hop. Hanlon's performance as one of two saxophonists on Unarmed Combat, a recording by Seattle-based band F5, demonstrates that he is as comfortable on groove-based tunes as he is when the rhythm section is playing a swing or bossa. A graduate of James Garfield High School, Hanlon plans to pursue a double major in jazz composition and music business/management.

Denise Hudson, a Georgia-born vocalist, is the recipient of the Gloria Estefan Presidential Scholarship. She arrives at Berklee College of Music with an impressive list of performing credits. Weeks after graduating in 2005 from Valley View High School, in Pennsylvania, she sang backgrounds on a summer tour with Grammy-nominated r&b and soul artist John Legend and appears on Legend's DVD Live at the House of Blues. Hudson was also a finalist for the CBS television show Star Search and New York's Showtime at the Apollo. She earned scholarships to the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts in 2003 and to the Performing Arts Institute in Kingston, Pennsylvania, in 2004. She plans to major in music business/management.

Ayeisha Mathis, a drummer from Boston, is the recipient of the Paul Simon Presidential Scholarship. She has already performed with percussion greats such as John Blackwell, Sheila E., Dennis Chambers, and Vinnie Colaiuta, among others. Mathis, who has endorsement deals with Zildjian and Vater Percussion, is winner of the National Collegiate Minority Leadership Award and was a nominee for the Who's Who Among American High School Students program. She was the executive producer of a youth ministry album released by her church and aspires to become a performer, songwriter, producer, music publishing company owner, and coordinator of a youth center for musicians.