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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Ethan Strickland, recipient of the 2018 Sal Gentile Jazz Scholarship, had the experience of the lifetime at the Velvet Note with Dr. Dana and Lt. Col. Richard Hall.

What started as a night out to experience jazz turned into a once-in-a-lifetime event for Reinhardt student Ethan Strickland.

Strickland – the 2018 recipient of the Sal Gentile Jazz Scholarship — joined Richard Hall, sponsor of the scholarship, and his wife, Reinhardt MBA program coordinator Dr. Dana Hall, at the Velvet Note in Atlanta. It’s customary for the Halls to take the jazz scholarship recipient to hear the live music they are studying, but that night in August became so much more.

The plan was to hear jazz legend Albert “Tootie” Heath – who first recorded with John Coltrane In 1957. As the night progressed, more jazz legends unexpectedly joined in, including Tootie Heath’s brother and tenor saxophone player, Jimmy Heath. Before Strickland knew it, he was hearing the voice of Freddie Cole, brother of Nat King Cole.

“It was incredible,” Strickland said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The music was phenomenal, and it inspired me to always be thankful for moments and opportunities. I picked up some new tricks and techniques as well.”

Hall was also impressed, saying “it was one of those evenings one couldn’t imagine.”

“It was such a great time and I’m blessed to have been able to see that,” said Strickland.

Strickland may not have a specific career chosen, but he can rest assured he will be supported in whatever he does by his Reinhardt family. The scholarship, he said, has been a blessing – providing financial assistance and building confidence.

“Receiving the scholarship gave me an extra boost in confidence because I learned that people saw things in me that I have yet to see,” said Strickland. “I don’t know what career I want to pursue quite yet but I can always revert back to the memory of being accepted to this school and remember that people believe in me.”