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Loyalsock Township bassist earns scholarship

Bassist and Loyalsock Township High School student Gabriel Severn will travel to New Orleans in January to be recognized at the 2020 Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference. Severn will be awarded the Dr. Lou Fischer JEN Co-Founder Scholarship, which honors his contribution to the jazz industry. His composition “Song for Fina” has been selected to be performed by the U.S. Navy Commodores at the conference’s Young Composers Showcase.

“I’m really honored to receive these awards. I’m excited to be a part of the conference, and to meet, hear and learn from so many artists that I admire. It’ll be a great time,” Severn said.

JEN is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences. The JEN conference brings thousands from around the globe for the annual event, now in its 11th year. The U.S. Navy Commodores, based in D.C., is the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble.

Severn is the recipient of five DownBeat Student Music awards, which are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education and the educational equivalent to the Grammys. One of the DownBeat awards was for the composition “Song for Fina.” Severn’s love of the Brazilian bossa nova and samba inspired him, and he dedicated the tune to a close family friend for her birthday.

The original recording, released last year on all streaming platforms, features producer and Special EFX guitarist Chieli Minucci who is a multiple Emmy Award winner and multiple Grammy Award nominee. The recording also features Special EFX members Joel Rosenblatt on drums and Jay Rowe on keys.

In the past three years, Severn has appeared in numerous music festivals, played alongside many of his musical icons, and had his music spun on radio stations around the world. Now almost 15, he’s been performing since he was 7, and travels extensively to perform as a soloist and with his band, Teen Town.

Most recently he appeared as a guest performer and panelist at the 2019 Jazz Philadelphia Summit. He also appeared recently with Doug Wimbish, of Living Colour, at the 2019 Philadelphia WimBash, at the 2019 COTA Jazz Festival, at the 2019 Detroit BASSDAY, and at the 2019 Elkhart Jazz Festival.

Teen Town has toured throughout Pennsylvania and opened for major artists including Sheila E., the Victor Wooten Trio, the Tierney Sutton Band and the Original Drifters. They’ve taken the stage at many notable festivals and events, including the Berks Jazz Festival, the Dauphin County Wine and Jazz Festival, TEDx Harrisburg and the Scranton Jazz Festival.

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