New Trier senior Erik Findling will have the chance to mingle with some of the biggest names in music next month as one of 32 high school musicians selected to attend Grammy Camp's Jazz Session - an experience that allows him to play during Grammy Week and attend the awards.
"They only pick two guitarists every year from across the country and I am one," said Findling, who will play in a four-person combo. "It's going to be awesome."
The Grammy campers, representing 30 cities and 14 states, will travel to Los Angeles for a 10-day musical adventure Feb. 4-13 under the direction of Justin DiCioccio of the Manhattan School of Music; Dr. Ron McCurdy of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music; and associate choral director Susanna Wegner of Kansas City, Mo.
Findling, of Winnetka, will perform with Grammy winners and nominees at jazz venues and Grammy Week events, including the official Post-Grammy Celebration. The students will also attend the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 12 as guests of The Recording Academy.
"If I could meet anyone during my time there, it would be Pat Metheny, my jazz hero," said Findling, a guitarist since he was 4 years old.
Courtesy of Capitol Studios, the group will also record an album, "GRAMMY Jazz 25," during their visit at the legendary facility in Hollywood, Calif.
"I already have all my sheet music," Findling said. "I have been playing and memorizing it all because we only have a couple rehearsals before everything begins."
An opportunity like this is something Findling has strived for since his father, a former musician, inspired him to try jazz at a young age. Previously, Findling and his brother, a drummer, formed a band and played around the Chicago club circuit for several years.
After graduation this spring, Findling will attend college and pursue a professional career in music. He will be eligible for more than $2 million in college scholarships made possible through the Grammy Foundation's college partners: Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, each selectee's school, including New Trier, will receive a professional cymbal courtesy of the Zildjian Company.