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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA

JOI Announces Recipient of the 2020-21 Richard Salvatore Soranno Memorial Scholarship for Jazz

Jazz Outreach Initiative along with Carl and Nick Soranno and their families are pleased and honored to present our 2nd Richard Salvatore Soranno Memorial Scholarship for Jazz to trumpeter, Keller Remington. Keller was among 3 finalists selected from JOI’s scholarship posted to The Public Education Foundation ( The application included a requirement for GPA, an essay, and a video audition. Both JOI and the Soranno families independently reviewed the final entries and unanimously selected Mr. Remington. Keller is a senior graduating from the Las Vegas Academy for the Performing Arts and has performed with a number of musical ensembles both at the school and in the community. These included Jazz at NSA, Nevada All-State, CCSD Honor Bands, and JOI’s own Las Vegas Youth Jazz Orchestra among others.

This year, JOI’s newest Board of Directors member, famed vocalist, headliner, and recording artist Clint Holmes, invited Keller to perform on two songs at his “Clint Holmes, The Regeneration Series” concert at Notoriety. JOI Executive Director, Donny Thompson, and JOI Co-founder and Dir. of Programming, Gary Cordell, were brought on stage to surprise Keller with his framed certificate and announcement. On receipt of the award coincidentally named for his former LVA bandmate and friend, Keller said, “To be of the highest degree of integrity, always find the passion to explore curiosity, investigate personal ignorance, always defend original ideas, and be the truest version of oneself! Pursuing these will also grant a significantly higher degree of creativity.” We couldn’t agree more!

Carl and Nicholas Soranno and their families reached out to Jazz Outreach Initiative (JOI) in spring 2020 for the purpose of establishing the Richard Salvatore Soranno Memorial Scholarship for Jazz. Their generous donation and a desire to repeat this generous offer annually for a select Clark County School District High School Senior who will pursue an undergraduate degree in Jazz is a truly fitting tribute to the lasting legacy and memory of a beloved local jazz student, Richard Soranno. On viewing the video of Keller’s performance with Clint Holmes, Carl said, “This is spectacular. Thank you so much for all of this. Nick and I want to keep my nephew’s memory alive for as long as we can. I am so appreciative and could not have even contemplated how far we are. I still can’t believe we lost Richard. He was so talented and should have been on many stages in his lifetime. Was not meant to be. But you have a special program and you are doing special work. On behalf of the family thank you so much. Just beautiful.”

Keller Remington joins Ilai Macaggi of Green Valley High School who received the scholarship last year. A trombone prodigy, Ilai is currently studying at the prestigious Julliard School and occasionally performs remotely with JOI, most recently for our professional band, the JOI Jazz Orchestra in the upcoming April 30, 2021 video premier of Sammy Nestico’s “A Warm Breeze” in celebration of International Jazz Day. (Stay tuned for more on this!) We look forward to watching Keller Remington continue his successful journey and to being a resource to him throughout his education and his career.

Here is a video of Keller’s performance and award.

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