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The Lee Shaw Scholarship Fund

At our next concert (July 14, 2024):


Percussionist Michael Benedict received a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and a master’s degree in jazz studies from Rutgers University.

In Jazz Vibes, Michael plays the vibraphone. His band plays original compositions, jazz standards and Brazilian-influenced jazz. He has toured the United States extensively and has performed in Europe. In 2012, Michael went on a US State Department tour of Tunisia, Africa, where he taught and performed with the Planet Arts Trio.

Michael has released six recordings to date. His album, Circulation, was an editor’s pick in Downbeat Magazine and listed as one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by National Public Radio. His newest album, 1-2-3 Go, earned him the Local Hero Award for Best Local/Regional Release by J. Hunter for www.nippertown.com. Michael recently won an award for the Best Jazz Musician of the Year for 2023 given by WCDB Radio, SUNY Albany, 90.9FM.

Kaitlyn Fay is a multi-faceted vocalist and instrumentalist with a background in classical, jazz, and musical theater repertoires. Following the release of her debut jazz standards album, Curiosity (2013), Fay was a featured vocalist in the 2014 Hudson Valley Jazz Festival. Since relocating to New York’s Capital Region in 2015, she has continued to hone her style and interpretations of the Great American Songbook while collaborating with a variety of musicians. After her critically acclaimed performance in the 2022 Jazz on Jay concert series, she is now a highly sought-after vocalist in the area. In addition to leading her own group, Fay plays baritone saxophone with Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble and the BWC Jazz Orchestra. Fay holds a Masters of Music in Jazz Voice Performance from William Paterson University, and she has studied with Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, Darmon Meader, Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), and Pete McGuinness (The Royal Bopsters).

David Gleason is a music educator, pianist and composer living in New York's Capital Region. He received an M.A. from Tufts University where he studied ethnomusicology and composition. He has researched folk and popular music in Puerto Rico and Cuba and is a contributing ethnomusicologist to the Museo Del Barrio’s permanent collection online. As a jazz and Latin pianist, he has performed with ensembles such as RumbaNaMa, The Boston Latin Band, The Either/Orchestra, Bopitude, The Big Soul Ensemble, and The Empire Jazz Orchestra. He has also performed with Lee Konitz, Laurel Massé, Fred Wesley, Gary Smulyan, Danilo Perez, Rufus Reid, Antonio Hart, John Fedchock and others. He also led the critically acclaimed Latin jazz ensemble Sensemayá and recorded two albums -  Shake It! in 2010, and La Madrugada Habanera/Havana Before Dawn in 2011. Mr. Gleason studied music education and jazz studies at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York. He has taught at the John Sayles School of Fine Arts, SHS@Proctors, SUNY Schenectady, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. David Gleason is also the author of Alfred Publishing’s "The Total Blues Keyboardist." 

Mike Lawrence is a Capital Region bassist and educator. He has recorded with the Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble alongside Joe Locke, Sharel Cassity, Bruce Barth and Michael Benedict on the album Circulation: The Music of Gary McFarland (one of NPR’s Best Jazz Albums of 2015). He has also recorded with Michael Benedict's Bopitude on Five and One featuring Gary Smulyan. Mr. Lawrence has performed live in concert with Gary Smulyan, Chris Pasin, Brian Patneaude, Harry Allen, Paul Meyers, Dick Oatts, Sharel Cassity, Steve Nelson, Gene Bertoncini, Claire Daly, Bruce Johnstone, Richard Lanham, Jeanne O'Connor, Keith Pray, Chuck Lamb, Mark Vinci, Jerry Weldon, Ray Vega, Wycliffe Gordon, Blue Lou Marini, Sonny Turner's Platters, Bobby Rydell, Tas Cru, and Charlie Smith Blues Band among many others. Mike teaches orchestra and string lessons for the Schenectady City School District as well private upright and electric bass lessons. He has also been a clinician at numerous jazz festivals and workshops around the region.

Pete Sweeney is a drummer, author, and educator living in Troy, NY. Pete studied with Dave Calarco and Joe Morello. He has performed, toured, and recorded with many great musicians such as Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell, Lee Ritenour, John Abercrombie, Robben Ford, Andy Summers (The Police), Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Ed Mann (Frank Zappa), Frank Gambale, Lorne Lofsky, “Dangerous” Dan Toler, Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, Mick Goodrick, and Steve Bailey. He has written 20 instructional books for the Alfred Publishing Company including the 30 Day Drum Workout, The Versatile Drummer, and the Drum Atlas books on Cuba, Jamaica, Salsa, and Brazil. Pete currently teaches at the Berkshire Music School, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the Troy Music Academy, Union College, and the Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation. He is a member of the Latin jazz group Sensemaya, as well as the leader of his own groups. He is an endorser of Mapex drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Aquarian drum heads.

Gleason, Lawrence and Sweeney often perform together as Art D’echo Trio.