FAME Jazz Band

Musician: Julian Wilson

FAME Jazz Band Program Student Spotlight

Julian Wilson

Instrument: Keyboards

Background: Julian Wilson is an up-and-coming keyboardist and producer. He currently attends Oxon Hill High School, where he maintains a 3.85 cumulative GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. He is a member of the FAME Jazz Band Program, FAME Jazz Ensemble, and the Oxon Hill High School Choir. He has performed with artists such as Tiffany Lloyd, Rev. Dr. Emory Andrews, and Kim Jordan his musical mentor. Julian also serves as the worship leader at his home church, Crossover Church, directing and guiding the Young Adult Worship team known as “Divine Praise”. This Fall, Julian will pursue a degree in Music Production and Technology at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Julian also received offers from Belmont University, Full Sail University, Hofstra University, Middle Tennessee State University and The University of Hartford.

Key accomplishments: Julian has performed at the White House twice in their “Holidays at the White House” concert series, the Ithaca College Gospel Music Invitational, under the direction of Pastor Chantel Wright, Dr. Baruch Whitehead, and Dr. Janet Galvan. He has also produced several singles in the last year, including “Shouldn’t Be” by artist Channing Alexis. Academically, Julian has earned several awards, including the District 27 Citizenship Award, the Walt Disney World Choral Festival Outstanding Student Accompanist award, and was inducted into the National Honor Society.

Hobbies: Singing, Working on Computers, Barbering, Napping

Why FAME? Music has always been my strongest suit, and I’ve been fortunate to receive a number of opportunities that helped cultivate and expose my talents. Performing with FAME allowed me to showcase my skills, as well as expose me to aspects of business, professionalism and overall preparedness that I hadn’t experienced in any other organization. Being able to connect with musicians on a peer level who were much more advanced than me provided that push I needed to really take my musicianship to the next level. Without FAME, I wouldn’t be nearly as advanced in my skills as a soloist, band member, and Music Director. Without FAME, I wouldn’t have been afforded the opportunity to perform at the Berklee College of Music’s High School Jazz Festival, an event which would ultimately connect and expose me to new opportunities and musicians that helped lead to my decision to attend my top school, Berklee. Additional support included college and career advising, and exposure to major performance venues and organizations. FAME has a knack for extracting the hidden talent in people, and I’m grateful that they would think highly enough of me to adopt me as a part of their family.


Musician: Langston Hughes, II


Instrument: Alto Saxophone

Current School: Charles Flowers High School, 10TH Grade

Background: Langston Hughes II is a multitalented musician, he has been playing saxophone for over 7 years and also plays tuba/sousaphone. He began piano lessons in 2016 at the FAME Music Studio.  He says that he has always enjoyed listening and playing music from a very young age; and noted “My family and friends would always try to get me to play a sport and I always just wanted to focus on music. My plan is to pursue music throughout my life.”


Currently Langston is a sophomore at Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, MD taking Advanced Placement classes with a 3.9 GPA.  He is first chair saxophonist in the concert band and his school’s jazz band, he is also first chair sousaphonist in the marching band. His school band director stated that “since his first day in high school, Langston has displayed a great tone, sense of rhythm and timing, sight-reading skills and a quick learner.  Along with his musical skills, Langston is a mature, dependable, responsible and respectful young man.”


Langston attended FAME’s Summer Music Technology and Academic programs and Songwriting Workshop in 2016.  During this period he discovered other interests and talents, recording music and writing music.


FAVORITE MUSICIANS: Gerald Albright and Grover Washington.

“MUSIC IS… A way of expression”


Personal Statement:  Participating in the FAME Jazz Band Program (FJBP) since its establishment in 2015 as a 9th grader has really increased my musicianship and broadened my music world.  Although I had not played jazz at school when I auditioned for FJBP, I knew in my spirit that jazz was for me; therefore, I was determined to do my best during the audition.

The weekly training with FJBP’s Artistic Director, Nat Adderley, Jr., has provided me exposure to complex music, a greater appreciation for jazz and music excellence.  Additionally, FAME’s emphasis on academic excellence for all musicians and providing one-on one STEM tutoring has also made a major difference in my life; it has helped me elevate my grades and career outlook.

Musician: Stephen Lowery

Musician: Stephen Lowery

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

Current School: From the Heart Christian School, 12th Grade



Stephen has been playing music since 2009 at school, and began playing for his church in 2010. He has always been good at playing by ear; however he developed the ability to read music when he started playing the saxophone in fifth grade and with a strong support system from other church musicians. He taught himself songs and memorized them. Stephen moved quickly from playing in his church’s children’s choir to the youth choir and adult choir orchestra. Playing in the church choir gave him the opportunity to read more challenging music, play by ear, and even write his own part. In the school orchestra, Stephen was given the opportunity to solo, improvise, and create harmony that wasn’t written in the music.

In 2015, Stephen had the opportunity to attend a rigorous one week saxophone camp at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. At this camp he learned techniques like flutter tongue, and played challenging music such as a Star Wars medley. It also helped him with counting difficult passages and soloing on various
pieces, specifically jazz. Also, in 2015 he attended FAME’s song writing workshop and the FAME music technology camp. Stephen said that “the camps exposed me to music outside of playing my specific instrument, and they helped me to be more creative with my instrument”.

Personal Statement:

My goal is to become a physical therapist, continue to play the saxophone and teach children how to play the saxophone. Participating in the FAME Jazz Band helps me to expand my knowledge of different types of music, outside of what I would usually play at my church. This training will help me reach my goal of expanding my skills and learning jazz. The more I learn, the more I can teach, and jazz includes skills that can be transferred to other types of music.


Playing in the FAME Jazz band has expanded my knowledge musically, and exposed me to a larger variety of music and musicians.


Musician: Donovan Speight

Musician: Donovan Speight


Instrument: Trumpet

Current School: Holy Trinity Episcopal School, 8th Grade

Background: Donovan Speight has been a student trumpeter for just over 3 years. His experience in using the trumpet has been as a part of the Holy Trinity Episcopal School’s band program, since 2013 and with the FAME Jazz Band starting with the 2015-2016 season. In the 5th grade, Donovan was a part of the Cadet Band at Holy Trinity, where he excelled to the first chair and was selected to compete in the Prince George’s County Middle School solo fest. In the 6th grade at Holy Trinity, Donovan played in the Concert Band and the Symphonic band. In the 7th grade, he played in the Wind Ensemble and the Jazz band. In addition to playing for his Middle School music program, in 2015, Donovan participated in Prince George’s County Honor Band. During the Inaugural Year of the FAME Jazz band, was recognized as one of its Most Improved Players.

As an avid sports enthusiast, Donovan plays youth baseball and football. In his spare time, he also enjoys playing the guitar.

Personal Statement: Participation in the FAME Jazz Band helps me to learn how to properly play the trumpet, exposes me to jazz music and musicians, and encourages me to achieve a higher level of playing. My goal is to learn enough about music to qualify for high school and college bands; and to excel far enough, to qualify for scholarships towards my education.
In terms of a career, I plan to be an attorney or an engineer. While I may not play full-time, I plan to learn as much as I can about the trumpet and music in general, for personal enjoyment and, hopefully, to also participate in a band part-time.

Musician: Darryl Bryant, Jr.

FAME Jazz Band Member Spotlight

Musician: Darryl Bryant, Jr.


Musician:             Darryl Bryant, Jr.

Instrument:          Tenor Saxophone

Current School:  Suitland High School Center for Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)


Background: I have been a musician for seven years; and saxophonist for five of those years. I started my music learning experience on the tenor saxophone when I was in the seventh grade. My first choice was to play alto, but the band had sufficient altos and not enough tenors. I was nervous because I was smaller than my instrument. I am a rising senior in the Center for Visual and Performing Arts Program at Suitland High School where I am in the advanced and jazz bands as well as the jazz combo. I take International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, as well as AP Piano Theory — and I love it. The class has challenged me to think about the structures of music and how to put them together in order to create beautiful melodies and rhythms. Also, I have learned to look at a piece of music and do a complete harmonic and melodic analysis where I use the terms learned in the class and determine where they fit within the piece. I am first chair tenor in the jazz band, first tenor in the marching band, and clarinetist in the concert band.


Personal Statement: As a FAME Jazz Band member I am learning from renowned pianist Nat Adderley, Jr., gaining a deeper insight into the jazz world and improving my improvisational skills. One of my biggest goals right now is to find my sound. I want my sound to be unique and fit my personality in and outside of music. I am gaining more knowledge on how to become a better player and how to look at a piece of music and play it well enough to give emotion and “color”. I want to be able to play with more emotion, captivate the audience and become a smooth and more lyrical jazz player.


John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Grover Washington Jr, and Lester Young have all been great inspirations to me. Their styles are contrasting in so many ways that when I listen, I can tell who is playing. I want to create my own distinct sound and maybe even start a new genre of music that is influenced by jazz primarily. I have had the opportunity to play with Jane Monheit and Christian McBride; they are really great at their craft. Those experiences have helped me become a better player. They motivated me to become more determined to practice, work hard, and become an amazing musician like them.


Musician: Nasir Phillips

FAME Jazz Band Member Spotlight

Musician:  Nasir Phillips


Instrument: Trumpet

Current School: Gonzaga College High School

Background: Nasir Phillips started playing trumpet in third grade at Potomac Elementary School in Fort Washington, MD.

Nasir attended Benjamin D. Foulois where he played in the Symphonic Band. He was a member of the Prince George’s County Public School Honor’s Band in the Seventh and Eighth grades; and participated in the Benjamin D. Foulois Jazz Band for three years, grades six through eighth. At Gonzaga High School he played in the band as a freshman and sophomore.

Nasir also plays piano and works diligently to improve his musicianship.

Personal Statement: Participating in the FAME Jazz Band will give me the experience; practice and access to experienced artists who can mentor me and help me fine tune my skills. Additionally, it is providing strong academic support and structure to effectively balance my studies and become a great musician. Finally I want to be a part of this ensemble because I believe it will give me the experience I need in order to be prepared for future opportunities in music and academics.


FAME Jazz Band Member Spotlight

Musician:  Nia Harris Burnley


Instrument: Piano
Current School: Bishop McNamara High School

Background: Nia Harris Burnley has played piano since the age of 3. She began playing the clarinet in the 4th grade and continues to play in her high school band. Nia attended Saint Ambrose School where she participated in advanced band clarinet, talent shows and solo piano performances while maintaining excellent grades in music and academics. She has studied music theory throughout middle and high school. At the age of 12, she was featured as one of six finalists at the 2013 Washington Women in Jazz Festival. At Bishop McNamara, she performs with the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble. In search of music excellence and a high level of performance, Nia took piano lessons at the Levine School of Music and the Washington Conservatory of Music; and takes private lessons at FAME — Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education.
Although she is a strong classical pianist, Nia wanted to satisfy her interest in learning to play jazz, so she participated in Bishop McNamara’s Jazz Summer Camp and attended the Washington Jazz Arts Institute during the summer of 2015. These experiences prepared her to successfully compete for her position as FAME Jazz Band pianist. Although she is only 15 years old, she has an extensive list of accomplishments and has studied under notable musicians. Nia received private instruction from and/or performed with Dr. Hui-Yen Chang, Eric Hall, Dionne Laufman, Nina Kozin, Dante Childres and Dimitri Nassar.

Nia comes from an accomplished musical family; her grandfather is the late legendary jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris. She is grateful for the sacrifice, time and other resources provided by her parents, Yvonne and Kenneth Burnley, and her grandmother, Sara Harris, that enables her to achieve her musical and academic pursuits.

Personal Statement: “I am thankful for the music training and opportunities that have been afforded me throughout my life. I plan to share my gifts with other young musicians. I believe participation in the FAME Jazz Band can help me achieve personal and artistic goals by helping me become a more rounded and focused musician. I can also learn new things and become a better and more experienced musician. It will also be nice to play in our community.”

Musician: William Porter

FAME Jazz Band Member Spotlight

Musician: William Porter

William Porter, Jr.

Instrument: Alto & Tenor saxophones

Current School: Suitland High School, (CVPA) 10th Grade

Background: William Porter started playing the saxophone in the fourth grade at Rosaryville Elementary School. HeI continued to play throughout middle school at Gwynn Park and Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts middle school. He participated in both school’s jazz bands and performed multiple solos throughout those years. He also sang in Gwynn Park Middle School’s After School Chorus. William auditioned to attend Benjamin Foulois Creative and Performing Arts and Suitland High School Performing Arts Schools. He participates in Suitland’s Advanced band and Jazz bands. He has been accepted into the Prince Georges County Honor’s Band program two times; and advanced to the Solo and Ensemble Competitions for saxophone duets. In spite of challenges, he has persevered because he has a strong desire to play the saxophone at a high level.

William gives credit for his music success to his dedicated and supportive parents, William and Linda. He is also thankful for the training and support received in school. He says that his elementary teacher Ms. Simmerer taught him techniques and strategies that he still applies to his playing today; and his seventh grade teacher Mr. Waller is a no nonsense teacher who encouraged him to strive to be the best.

In addition to his outstanding musical achievements, William excels academically!

Personal Statement: I was trained from a very young age to play the saxophone. I have always had a strong desire to play the saxophone and I try my best at any competition or audition. I have yet to reach my limit and want to learn more about the saxophone. I believe the FAME Jazz Band is a good opportunity for me to grow in my saxophone playing, learn new things, and face new challenges.



MEDIA CONTACT: A. Toni Lewis, Executive Director



 Jazz Great Nat Adderley, Jr., Will Serve as Artistic Director 

Application Deadline is November 6 

BOWIE, Md. (October 15, 2015) – FAMEFoundation for the Advancement of Music & Education invites Prince George’s County middle and high school students to apply for the inaugural 2015-2016 season of the FAME Jazz Band. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Nat Adderley, Jr., the FAME Jazz Band will provide high caliber music and academic instruction for 30 middle school and high school students. The students will perform on major stages throughout the region, receive academic and college prep tutoring during the school year, and participate in FAME’s summer music technology and instrumental programs at the University of Maryland College Park.

“The FAME Jazz Band will bring together a diverse group of talented students who will have the great fortune to learn and work with Nat Adderley, Jr., as well as other master musicians and artists in a professional and supportive setting,” said FAME Founder and Executive Director A. Toni Lewis. Adderley, scion of the famed jazz family, is an international jazz pianist and former music director, composer, and arranger for music icon Luther Vandross.

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