2013 Jacobs/Steinway Award


From left to right: Linda Burton (Sherrod’s Mom), Gary Mattia (School Principal), Sherrod Cotton (awardee), Tara Buzash (Steinway Society Board Member), Randy Brown (Jacobs Store Manager) 

Fourteen year old pianist Sherrod Cotton, an eighth-grade student at Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton, has been identified as a keyboard player with exceptional promise and has been awarded a scholarship to study jazz piano, provided by Jacobs Music Company and the Steinway Society of Greater Princeton. The award has a value of $600 toward private jazz lessons this summer with Vince di Mura, a veteran pianist, composer, arranger and musical director who currently serves as the Resident Composer and Musical Director for the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University.

Last summer Sherrod participated in the Westminster Conservatory “Jazz Boot Camp,” where he learned to function in a jazz ensemble, and it revealed that he has great potential for jazz piano. “He has a highly developed musical ear and a natural affinity for jazz,” explained Tara Buzash, a jazz pianist who is a member of board of the Steinway Society of Greater Princeton, which holds its concert series at recital hall in the Jacobs showroom in Lawrenceville. “Sherrod needs lessons to develop his talent and that’s why our organization and Jacobs Music reached out with these resources to make that possible.”

The scholarship amount is $600 towards private lessons with Vince di Mura, who performed at a recent Jazz Musicale for the Steinway Society of Greater Princeton. “It’s a tremendous pleasure for Jacobs Music Company to help connect this talented and deserving young player, Sherrod Cotton, with a teacher of the caliber of Vince di Mura,” said Al C. Rinaldi, Chairman and CEO of Jacobs Music Company. “Sherrod will not only benefit from the jazz techniques he’ll learn this summer. A great teacher can help a student develop his or her musical heart and a greater capacity for musical expression .” At the conclusion of the lessons, Sherrod will play a piece for the Steinway Society so members can celebrate his progress.

Sherrod is already relied upon for his keyboard talents, as he plays the organ every Sunday in church and serves as accompanist for the Interfaith Tabernacle Mass Choir.  He has also played the organ for local funeral services and he performs on the synthesizer for his church’s Annual Tent Revival outreach ministry.  He comes from a musical family and has been surrounded with music since childhood.  His father is a gifted musician. According to his mother, Linda Burton, Sherrod is an unusually thoughtful person who has won his school’s citizenship award and has earned a perfect school attendance record since the fourth grade.

See Press Release: CottonPressRelease