Count Basie Center announces details on Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship


Pat DiNizio (Photo by Mary Frank)
Photo by Mary Frank

(RED BANK – OCT 12) On the occasion of what would have been his 63rd birthday, details were announced today for the Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship, named in honor of the legendary frontman of The Smithereens who passed away last December.

Beginning today, interested students may apply by completing the online form and submitting an audition video at Finalists will be announced on December 3, 2018.

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 onsite partner programs like the Rockit! Live Academy or Jazz Arts Project.

“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, Severo Jornacion 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 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 is truly touched by the outpouring of support for this scholarship named in Pat’s memory,” said Maria D. Sorensen, Vice President / Development, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Giving that commemorates loved ones is a lasting way to impact our community. Through the Pat DiNizio Musical Performance Scholarship, Pat’s legacy and influence will live at the Basie for decades to come.”