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27 January 2017

Photo: Katherine Bollens

Bahamian Giveton Gelin, a former student of Windsor Preparatory School in Nassau, recently performed during National YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. Gelin was named a 2017 YoungArts Winner in the Jazz category.  Performances were held at both the New World Center and Le Chat Noir.

Gelin says he got into playing the trumpet when his primary school marching band needed more trumpeters. He received his first trumpet when his father remembered he had once lent a trumpet to a friend, and they were surprised to find out she still had it and it was returned to him. “Little did I know how much went into playing the trumpet, but over the years it started to become clear to me that music was my calling.”

The young trumpeter said he first heard jazz music when his high school teacher played a recording of “The Three Trumpeters” featuring Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, and Nicholas Payton. “This encounter changed my life, from then my ultimate goal was to play in that calibre despite living in a country where the jazz scene was not that prevalent.”

Photo: Jason Koerner

“Following my passion, led me to my mentor, Adrian D’aguilar,” said Gelin.  “Adrian took me under his wing and gave me guidance. He is like a father to me, and because of him I was taught what jazz music really meant and how to reach my potential.”

“This journey was not easy. I was living in a very unsafe neighbourhood and my environment was filled with negative influence. Music was always what kept me on the right path. I have been in many life-threatening scenarios, from multiple robberies, to having my horn smashed on the floor. This all was an incentive for me to express these experiences through the horn.”

Gelin, who speaks three languages attends the Oberlin Conservatory School in Ohio and was awarded attendance at summer camps at the Manhattan School of Music from 2014-2016.

He has played with Billy Hart, Wynton Marsalis, Spike Wilner, Lou Rainone, Remy Leboeuf, Tivon Pennicott, Matt Brewer.

“Despite many obstacles in my life, I prevailed. I am honoured and grateful that the world is starting to recognize my work.”

(Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Heike Dempster, National Young Arts Foundation)

The 2017 YoungArts Jazz Finalist at Le Chat Noir (Photo: Jason Koerner)

Giveton Gelin performing at Le Chat Noir (Photo: Jason Koerner)