SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: SEBASTIAN DE LA CRUZ
“Playing that Les Paul for the first time took me straight off my feet, I couldn’t believe it. It’s a milestone and an honor that I will never forget. One of many I’ve had in Rockit,” said Sebastian.
The Rockit Live Foundation is a non-profit organization with a defining focus on outreach, music education, and scholarships. Through scholarships, the Rockit Live Foundation makes our elite program available to any aspiring artist at every level of economic status. The impact scholarships have on these young musicians is life changing.
Sebastian de la Cruz, a junior in high school who plays guitar, received the Lou Pallo Scholarship in October of 2022. This spectacular scholarship included a black custom Les Paul guitar and one year enrolled in Rockit Academy (guitar lessons, band rehearsals, and live performances). Gibson Gives created this scholarship specifically for Rockit Live Foundation.
Sebastian reflects, “Being in Rockit for these past two years has completely changed the ideas I had about my own future beforehand. I began to feel like I had potential, and with the proper guidance, I could follow any of my ambitions. While participating in the program I’ve learned to communicate in ways I could not possibly perceive as my younger self. As a student I’ve also gained a realization that I now hold very dearly. I realized that anyone who lives long enough will undoubtedly find something that changes their life in a way they may never have experienced before. I just can’t believe I found it so early.”
Sebastian’s mother, Autumn, is proud of her son’s accomplishment and commitment to his passion and craft. “The feeling of recognition is encouraging/motivating to support his engagement with Rockit. We are impressed by Sebastian’s (all Rockit kids really) drive and how they make themselves vulnerable.”
Beyond the music education, Autumn is noticing life skills that Sebastian is acquiring. “Sebastian has always been a loyal and dedicated person and shown integrity; however, being a part of Rockit has seemingly given him a cause. He speaks often about how other people are trusting in him to do his part and how he finds motivation in knowing that. I believe these feelings induce a sense of responsibility and ownership for Sebastian that will be remembered throughout his life.”
EDDIE BRIGATI INVITES ROCKIT STUDENTS TO BE HIS BAND DURING DINO DANELLI TRIBUTE
April 27, 2023 – New Jersey’s own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician, Eddie Brigati of The Young Rascals, invited Rockit Academy student and alumni musicians to be his band during the “All Star Tribute to Dino Danelli: A Tribute to a Legend – By Legends” at The Cutting Room in NYC.
It was a heartfelt, memorable and beautiful evening honoring Dino Danelli, The Young Rascal’s drummer who passed away in December. Paul Shaffer, Mark Rivera, Liberty DeVitto, Steve Jordan and Peter Criss were a few of the legends performing who were gracious enough to share words of wisdom with Rockit Academy musicians during sound check.
Bruce Gallipani, Rockit founder and executive director, reflected on the night, “This was truly one of the highest honors providing Rockit Academy as Eddie’s backing band to perform number one hits by The Young Rascals. I still have fond memories of their music being played in my household as a kid and watching Dino Danelli in amazement on the Ed Sullivan Show when I first started drumming at the age of 5.”
Eddie and Susan Brigati are longtime mentors to Rockit Academy students; they often visit rehearsals and attend shows. They sit on Rockit Live Foundation’s Artist Advisory Board with Steven and Maureen Van Zandt, Carmine Appice, Ricky Byrd, and Steve Lacy.
Brigati wrote to Rockit, “Thank each and every one of you (Bruce, teachers, and students) for all your consistent efforts of unity and creativity. We were one of the highlights to Dino’s tribute. We gladly pass the torch on to you with all blessings!”
ARIELLE BORGES WINS BIG FOR ROCKIT DOCUMENTARY
Arielle Borges earned First Place – Best Documentary at the Basie Center Teen Film Fest and First Place in Holmdel High School’s Film Festival for her documentary, “Rockit: Making of a Musician”. Arielle wrote, “Thank you, Rockit Life Foundation and the whole Rockit family, for supporting me through this whole experience.”
ROCKIT AT THE CUTTING ROOM NYC
April 30, 2023 – Rockit musicians performed “A Salute to Rhythm & Blues” at our NYC home, The Cutting Room. The show included the sounds of Jeff Beck, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and numerous other great rhythm and blues artists!
ROCKIT INVITED TO PERFORM AT BROOKDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Rockit musicians were invited by Brookdale Community College president, David Stout, to perform at Brookdale’s Open House, as well as Brookdale’s Garden Party for graduates and faculty.