Count Basie Center announces details for 2020 Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship


Pat DiNizio (Photo by Mary Frank)(RED BANK – OCT 21) Details were announced today for the 2020 Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship, named in honor of the legendary frontman of The Smithereens who passed away in December 2017.

Beginning now, interested students may apply by completing the online form and submitting an audition video at Deadline for submissions is Nov. 8 and finalists will be announced Dec. 3, 2019.

Scholarship winners can choose from any Basie musical performance program, including classes at the Basie Center Performing Arts Academy, lessons from the Basie’s Monmouth Conservatory, or any onsite partner.

“Music was the most important part of Pat’s life, second to his love of New Jersey,” band members Jim Babjak and Dennis Diken said. “The Smithereens are honored to present, along with the Count Basie Center for the Arts, The Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship. We feel this is a fitting tribute to Pat’s memory.”

At the time of his passing, DiNizio and The Smithereens had just announced plans for their first-ever Basie performance. The concert instead became a tribute to DiNizio, featuring Smithereens bandmates Babjak, Diken and Mike Mesaros, fronted by an array of vocalists including Marshall Crenshaw, Ted Leo, Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson, Scandal’s Patty Smyth, Freedy Johnston, Richard Barone, Severo Jornacion and others. The evening ended with an all-star performance of The Smithereens’ classic “A Girl Like You,” led by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt.

A portion of sales from that concert and money raised worldwide during a live webcast of the show helped create the scholarship fund.

“The Basie Center continues to be extremely grateful for the outpouring of support to the DiNizio scholarship,” said Maria D. Sorensen, Vice President, Development, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “This scholarship is such a meaningful way to commemorate Pat’s influence in music and allow his legacy to impact students for years to come.”

Those interested in contributing to the DiNizio scholarship directly can visit