Recipients announced for inaugural Charlie Puth Musical Performance Scholarships at the Basie Center Academy!

Students to receive $1500 scholarships to music programs
at the Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts


The Charlie Puth Performance Scholarship at the Count Basie Center Academy(RED BANK | OCTOBER 11) The Count Basie Center Academy has announced the first recipients of the Charlie Puth Musical Performance Scholarships. The scholarships, which will be awarded in perpetuity to students interested in attending classes at the Academy, were established last year at the onset of the Count Basie Center’s FOREVER FOR EVERYONE endowment campaign.

Puth, a onetime Academy jazz student, serves as honorary chair of the fundraising effort.

Rafael Joshua Estrada, 13, of Middletown and Dakota Diehl, 15, of Rumson, will each receive $1500 scholarships towards any Basie Center Academy musical or vocal performance program. The awards are just two of the hundreds of merit- and needs-based scholarships the Count Basie Center is creating as part of the FOREVER FOIR EVERYONE campaign. To date, more than half of the campaign’s $20 million goal has been raised.

“I feel extremely honored to be chosen as a recipient of the Charlie Puth Scholarship,” said Estrada, who plays piano and violin and studies at the Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music. “This is truly a wonderful opportunity, that will not only help me obtain additional training in the music field, but will also serve as a great source of inspiration.”

“I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and so honored to have been chosen for this award,” said Diehl, who plans to apply her scholarship towards studies with Basie Center partners, Lakehouse Music Academy.  “With this experience I will continue with vocals and musical theatre but have always wanted to learn to play the guitar – and plan to take this time to do it!”

“I’m thrilled Rafael and Dakota are the first recipients of the Charlie Puth Musical Performance Scholarship,” said Puth. “The Basie Center Academy was an integral part of my development as a musician, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the Center and make arts education accessible for children and teenagers.”

Upon announcing his support of the FOREVER FOR EVERYONE campaign last October, Puth explained “It’s more than just concerts at The Basie Center – their classes and arts education experiences teach not just performance skills, but also critical life skills like confidence, tolerance, teamwork, and collaboration. I’m honored to have a role in the institution that helped me grow as a musician.”

Applications for another Basie Center Academy musical performance scholarship – named for Pat DiNizio, the late co-founder and vocalist for The Smithereens – are being accepted now through November 15 at