Photo courtesy of Jeff Sweat
A big part of Ralphfest's local legacy emerges quietly after the loud music festival fades out: The Ralph Ameduri Jr Music Scholarship handpicks promising young musicians to equip them with professional instruments that ostensibly position them to become the backbone of the future generation of badass local players (and if we're thinking bigger, beyond). This year, the scholarship was awarded to two students: Jeremy Bianco and Symone Smith.
Bianco, a bass player, received an LTD bass to continue his music education and sustain that rhythm that makes him tick. Smith's instrument, however, was a little less straightforward to order. Ralphfest organizer Jeff Sweat says it took him three weeks to track down a 1960 ("the golden age of clarinets") Buffet Crampon R-13. After that, he worked with local music shop Underwood Music to fix it up to a point he says ensures she will never need to buy another clarinet. Congratulations to both scholarship winners - now get to fine-tuning your instrument!
This might go without saying, but the extra effort here demonstrates clear dedication to meaningfully preserve Ameduri's enduring influence locally (less involved folks could easily have gone with a lesser instrument and called it a day) by ensuring that the musicians his namesake scholarships reach have every chance to become invigorated and inspired by the prospect of a lifetime spent making music. That's a path that is, of course, never easy, but definitely much easier when you have the right equipment.