Scout House 2017 music scholarship winner a triple threat:
Justin Schatz plays four instruments, sings and dances

justin schatz (1)

Justin Schatz, winner of the 2017 Wilf Blum Memorial Youth Music Scholarship award of $750, is a triple threat musician who plays four instruments, sings in two groups, dances with a group that performs across North America and Europe and teaches ballroom dancing. He intends to build a career as a music educator in order to share his love of music with students of the future.

Preston Scout House Band Inc. of Cambridge offers annual youth music scholarships in memory of Band founder Wilf Blum to a Waterloo Region student who intends to make music a central part of his or her life. The award may be applied to post-secondary tuition in a music program, lessons with an accredited teacher or purchase of an instrument. Justin Schatz will apply the award to the costs of attaining his degree in music and education at a university outside Waterloo.

The scholarship award will be presented during the Scout House Canada Day barbecue for family and friends at the Speedsville Community Hall, 333 Speedsville Road, following the Preston Canada Day parade on July 1.

A grade 12 specialist high skills major, arts and culture (music specialization) student at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School (SJAM) in Waterloo, his music training began at age 5 on piano and age 9 on guitar. He will receive SJAM’s Leejay Levene Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to the music program during June graduation ceremonies. He intends to earn Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees to enable him to teach music at the high school level and still perform at various community events.

“Justin is an extremely talented performer who drew rave reviews from the adjudicators at the MusicFest Nationals competition,” said Pattie Bender, music department head at SJAM. “As a musical leader, his excitement for music infects those he is working with. He models exemplary rehearsal and practice habits and encourages others to achieve personal excellence.”

During his years at SJAM, he has performed on guitar, French horn and in the percussion section of groups including the Junior and Senior Jazz Bands, Jazz Combo, Junior and Senior Concert Bands and the pit band for the musical Seussical. He has also sung with the SJAM Jazz Choir and the SJAM Male Ensemble. These groups have consistently earned top awards at the Kiwanis Music Festival, Humber College Next Generation Jazz Festival and at MusicFest Canada Nationals.

He has co-directed SJAM’s Junior Jazz Band, selecting repertoire for the group, teaching the music and conducting the group in concerts. He is also the assistant conductor of the Intermediate Jazz Band and a member of the SJAM Music Council. His normal routine includes weekly guitar lessons and daily practice sessions at home, and SJAM band and choir rehearsals before, during and after school. He completed the practical portion of the grade 6 piano exam in 2014 and the grade 2 (advanced rudiments) theory in 2016.

Outside school, he has been a member of the Youth Praise Band at a summer camp for youth from across Ontario, performed at a Kitchener/Waterloo Oktoberfest Festhall for seven years, performed during several community fundraisers and plays guitar with St. Peter’s Youth Praise Band in Cambridge. Through SJAM, he has performed at school and community events in Waterloo, and at the Jazz Room in uptown Waterloo and the Rex Hotel and Jazz Club in Toronto.

He is currently president and a performer with the KW Transylvania Dance Group, which performs traditional Saxon and German dances and has earned the title of Best German Dance Group in Waterloo Region in 2016, 2015 and 2013. He is a volunteer ballroom dance instructor for young adults, offered through the Transylvania Club.

Seven Waterloo students have previously received scholarships since Scout House initiated the program in 2014. Justin’s brother Liam was one of two 2016 scholarship recipients. The review and selection panel includes Paul Mitchell: president, Central Ontario Musicians Association, Local 226 of the Canadian Federation of Musicians; Terry Hallman, retired senior public school music teacher with Waterloo Region District School Board; Gord Cupskey, director and music instructor for Scout House Silver Leaves Brass Ensemble.