In 2014, The Justin Veatch Fund awarded three $1,000 scholarships to area high school graduating seniors planning further study in music. Recipients were Elizabeth Pogact of Yorktown High School, Ian Fait of John Jay High School, and Nathan Flaks of Dobbs Ferry High School.
The awards were presented at a special ceremony at the John C. Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak, NY on June 18th. Each received, in addition to a $1,000 check, a specially designed metronome which has become synonymous with the honor.
“We began by awarding one scholarship in 2009,” says Jeffrey Veatch, president of The Justin Veatch Fund which was created following the death of his 17 year old son Justin Veatch, a Yorktown senior, from an accidental drug overdose in 2008. “Justin had an amazing talent as a singer, songwriter and musician and had planned to have a career in music. The scholarships and the music programs sponsored by The Fund represent our efforts to honor Justin’s legacy by giving others what we would have wanted him to receive,” says Veatch.
Recipient Elizabeth Pogact, a Yorktown Graduate who has specialized in playing flute, plans to study music education at Syracuse University in the fall. Her goal is to become a middle school band director. “I hope that one day I can inspire young students to be eager to learn and improve their craft,” says Pogact. “As a teacher I want to teach more than what is written on the page.”
Recipient Ian Fait, a John Jay graduate who plays guitar and bass, has played with several bands, studied vocal technique with music luminary Sloan Wainwright and plans study in the fall at Finger Lakes Community College for Music Recording Technology. “Sounds have always intrigued me,” says Fait, who has dreams of becoming a recording engineer.
Recipient Nathan Flaks, a Dobbs Ferry graduate who plays piano and guitar and writes original songs, plans to concentrate on film scoring in the fall at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Flaks says he has long been inspired by the colors he sees resonating from music. “I have been surrounded by music my entire life, “ says Flaks. “When I started it never occurred to me that I was moving towards something that would be life-consuming and purpose-granting.”
Peekskill violinist Daisy Jopling was the keynote speaker at the program talking about the importance of involving young people with music. Jopling, who most recently wrote and directed the music for “The String Pulse Experience” which premiered in April to a sell-out crowd at The Paramount Hudson Valley.
The Justin Veatch Fund is a 501 (c) 3 organization and recognized New York charity which co-sponsors monthly open mic nights with the Yorktown Teen Center.