Each year, the Gerry Mulligan Foundation provides scholarships for Darien High School students and students from neighboring towns. On June 8, at Franca Mulligan’s home, three Darien High School Students and a Norwalk senior received the scholarship.
The foundation started in 2012, 18 years after Gerry Mulligan passed away. The famous and highly influential jazz musician worked with jazz legends like Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and Art Farmer. His wife, Franca Mulligan, created the foundation to honor him and to “provide music education to young musicians, donate musical instruments to inner city schools, and perpetuate the music of Gerry Mulligan.”
The foundation was first established at the Juilliard School in New York and then began supporting KEYS, an inner city program in Bridgeport, which provides musical instruments to those in need. The Foundation also assists composers and arrangers by providing free unlimited access to the Gerry Mulligan Music library.
Darien High School sophomore, Jack Armstrong, was one of the recipients. He plays the trombone and is in the high school’s jazz band. He said he was honored to be recognized by a foundation that honors a jazz great who “influenced artists like Pink Floyd.” Doug Werner, a junior at the high school who plays the alto saxophone, was also honored as well as Jack Gabriel, a junior, who plays the piano in the jazz band.
Norwalk High School senior Soleil Londono was also being awarded a scholarship for her essay on how jazz opened up a door for her to learn new instruments. All four students were grateful and excited to have been honored.
Each recipient received a certificate along with $250 and a Gerry Mulligan record.