Gregory Porter joins Jazz in the Palace guests in support of the Award

Published: 15 Dec 2014

Supporters of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award attend 'Jazz in the Palace' event.

Supporters of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award were recently treated to an exclusive performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Gregory Porter during a special event at Buckingham Palace.

Jazz in the Palace brought together star jazz vocalist Gregory with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) in a dazzling concert in support of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (the Award), attended by HRH The Earl of Wessex and more than 160 World Fellows and their guests.

Guests learned how the lives of young people and their communities can be transformed through music and taking part in the Award, with speeches given by HRH and John May, Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.

Life-changing music

Award holder Thompson Egbo-EgboMusic is one of the most popular activities selected by young people undertaking the Skills section of the Award, encouraging the development of personal interests as well as practical and social skills.

One young person who has benefitted from the transformational effect of the Award is Thompson Egbo-Egbo (pictured left), from Canada. Thompson grew up in a low income, high crime neighbourhood in Toronto but discovered a love of playing the piano. He went on to become a professional jazz pianist and was inspired to establish The Egbo Arts Foundation, supporting young musicians growing up in challenging circumstances.

Thompson said: “My Foundation is really just an extension of the skills and values that I developed taking part in the Award and the relationships I made. I see the Award as an investment in social infrastructures and an investment in young people to build a better community around them.”

Star ensemble

The World Fellowship was created in 1987 to support the long-term development of the Award and attending Fellows were treated to performances from both established and rising stars of the jazz world.

Gregory, who is also a songwriter and actor, won Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards for the critically acclaimed Liquid Spirit. He was also nominated for International Artist of the Year at the inaugural BBC Music Awards.

NYJO is one of Britain’s longest-running ensembles for young people under 25 playing big-band jazz. Its alumni include Guy Barker, Mark Nightingale, Gerard Presencer, Pete Long, Dennis and Winston Rollins and Amy Winehouse.

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