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PSC’s Valerie Nicholson Honored with Award from Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

PSC’s Valerie Nicholson Honored with Award from Chicago Jazz Philharmonic [07/03/2019]

Prairie State College (PSC) Professor and Coordinator of Music Valerie Nicholson recently was named the Inaugural Jazz Alive! Educator’s Award Recipient by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. The award was presented to Nicholson at the 2019 “Think Big” Gala, which raises funds for the organization’s performance and education programs.  Valerie Nicholson

Nicholson was recognized for her years of dedicated service in the area of music education. In addition to 33 years of teaching music at PSC, Nicholson also is the founder of the PSC Jazz Fest, a three-day annual festival that begins with instrumental clinics for local junior high and high school jazz musicians, led by world-renowned jazz artists, and culminates in a concert event featuring the jazz masters. The college hosted the 31st fest this year.

Nicholson also is very active in supporting the arts in the community and has performed with many ensembles, including the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in Symphony Center and at the Chicago Jazz and Blues Festivals with Burgess Gardner’s Well-Oiled Jazz Machine. She is active with the Southland Arts Municipalities and Business Alliance (SAMBA) and serves as the director of music at Grace United Protestant Church in Park Forest, Ill. In addition to her musical endeavors, she is a member of the League of Women Voters and is involved in several regional arts organizations. Nicholson also has been recognized for her contributions to the arts by the Village of Park Forest Historical Society, Tall Grass Arts Association and Star Newspapers.

“Professor Nicholson is very deserving of this inaugural award,” said PSC President Dr. Terri L. Winfree. “Her dedication to the students of PSC, as well as the students who participate in the jazz fest clinics is unparalleled.”

To watch a tribute video highlighting Nicholson, created by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, visit https://vimeo.com/337632544.