William “Donnie” Manzo graduated from Ramapo College in 1977 with a degree in history. He was a talented, dedicated musician who played a number of instruments and taught guitar. At the age of 16 Donnie and his friends started a band that performed together for 30 years. He died suddenly from a brain aneurysm in 2009 at the age of 53. Since he inspired so many musicians who still play in bands around the region, Donnie’s family and friends held a tribute concert in 2009. A “house band” of Donnie’s former students performed at the concert and part of the proceeds were used to create this scholarship. The intent of the Manzo Scholarship is to recognize Ramapo College students who share Donnie’s commitment and dedication to music.
- For students interested in music or music performance
- Financial need based Foundation policy
- 2.50 GPA or higher
- Applicants must submit an essay that addresses the following questions: What are your ambitions as a musician? Who are your musical influences and how have they inspired you?
- Selected by committee of faculty and Dean
Alexis Amaya Jones
“My hope post-graduation is to work for a record label and seek talent. I want to show young people how to realize their dreams, and mentor them when they are struggling with ideas,” says Music Industry major Alexis Amaya Jones of Newark, N.J.
Alexis has a GPA of 3.23 and is part of Leaders in Service and the EOF program. She has worked at the Children’s Place, the Mills at Jersey Gardens, Adidas, and as a babysitter.
“I hope to establish my own record label, work with musicians in the recording studio, and create a benefit concert dedicated to raising money for underrepresented minorities,” says Daniela Herrera, a Music major with a double concentration in Music Industry and Production. Daniela is a first-year student and is on the Dean’s list with a 3.7 GPA.
Daniela is actively involved on campus and serves as a member of the College Programming E-Board where she helps plan fun, inclusive on-campus events. She also volunteers weekly at The Women’s Center and is part of the Equal Opportunity Fund program. Off-campus, she works part-time as a server at a local Italian Restaurant.
She is from Garfield, N.J.
Kyle Tazewell of Summerville, SC is a Music major with a concentration in Music Production and Music Industry. He has a 3.1 GPA. He is active in Ramapo’s Leaders in Service (LIS) Program and Sophomores Advancing in Leadership (SAIL). During the summer, Kyle helped incoming freshman develop their leadership and civic engagement skills. He did this through team building activities and off-campus community service projects like MEVO and Habitat for Humanity.
During breaks he volunteers with Katie’s Krops, an organization focused on ending hunger in his home state of South Carolina, where he spends time in the garden and helps prepare and serve hot meals to those in need. He was recognized in 2016, when he was named Volunteer of the Year for the organization.
“I hope to start a career in administration for a non-profit performing arts organization,” says Briana Cole of New Milford, N.J.
Briana is the president of the Ramapo Chorale and a member of CantaNOVA. She traveled with the Chorale to Ghana, Africa for Spring Break 2017. She will also be performing with the Chorale and Eric Whitacre at Lincoln Center this spring.
She is a Contemporary Arts, Contract Major, Music and Communications. She has a 3.1 GPA.
Jacqueline Narciso of Suffern, NY, is a Music Industry major and an International Business minor. She has a 3.7 GPA, and is on the Dean’s List. Jacqueline is active in a number of honor societies at Ramapo, and also serves as President of the Ramapo Music Club. “In my work with the music club, I strive to help create a thriving music scene on campus and a strong sense of community among students,” said Jacqueline. She is also a vocalist in the Ramapo Gospel Choir.
Off campus, she sings at local music venues and is involved in theater productions at the Nyack Village Theater. Post-graduation, she plans to further her education in the Music Industry or International Business.
Rosa Javier of Easton, PA is a Music and Liberal Studies major with minors in Italian and French, and concentrations in Music Performance and Music Industry. She has a 3.8 GPA and is part of the Golden Key Honor Society.
A member of Ramapo’s Gospel Chorus, Rosa has also combined her interests in Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean studies through coursework in jazz, Haitian studies, and French civilization. She has been active in the Italian Club, Music Club, and Italian Conversation hour.
Off campus, Rosa has volunteered at her local homeless shelter and is involved in The International Conference of Caribbean Literature (in Brazil).
Michelle Encarnacion Pozo will graduate next month with a Music major and concentration on Vocal Performance, as well as, a minor in International Business. Michelle transferred to Ramapo from the University of Puerto Rico after completing an exchange program at the College in 2012. Michelle has a 3.8 GPA. At Ramapo, Michelle has been an active member of Ramapo Chorale, Skylark and CantaNOVA and is the voice student of Dr. Lisa Lutter. Michelle can be heard as the lead vocal on the newly released album, “A Place I’ve Never Been,” the Richard Sorce Project, available from CDbaby.com. Michelle’s goal is to earn a master’s degree in Vocal Performance and pursue a career as a classical singer.
Grant Brazer of Hillsborough, NJ is a Music Production major. His experience includes music composition and production, percussion, guitar and piano, arrangement, orchestration, editing, pre- and post-production, music scoring for film, software/audio recording technologies and song and lyric writing. He says, “Every song I create tells a particular story through a window of different cultural influences. I am driven to create artwork and bring listeners to different environments, allowing everyone to experience a contentedness similar to my own.” Grant works on political campaigns in his hometown and is active with the Red Cross. He credits his interest in music and his various talents to having listened to music in utero.
John DiNunzio of Cherry Hill, NJ is a Music Industry major. John plays the piano and drums and has been a member of three bands. He’s played at benefit concerts and many other live performances. John is a member of the Music Club, the Programming Board for the Music Committee and a member of the Lacrosse team. He serves as music manager of Ramapo’s radio station. He astutely observes, “Every musician has an unparalleled work ethic to strive for greatness, for their voices to be heard, their art to be loved and to achieve self-success.” He says Professor Ben Neill encouraged him to look forward to every opportunity and to get involved in every situation, advice that John has heeded. He strives to work to his highest potential. John has a 3.0 grade point average.
Stephanie Onder knew in high school that she wanted to be a musician. In her senior year she went to a Bon Jovi concert and realized “that I wanted to be a part of this scene — to make people happy through music.” Stephanie is a senior Communication Arts major concentrating in both Music Industry and Music Production. She has earned a 3.76 grade point average. Stephanie is working as an intern at Sony Music Entertainment in NewYork City, and over the summer was an intern at The Barbershop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ. “Also I have been writing songs,” she says. “I am currently trying to finish some of my material and record these songs soon.” Stephanie is from West Milford, NJ.
“It comes naturally for me to express my ideas through the art of music,” says Mike Santo. “But it wasn’t until this semester that I realized that listening, creating, and playing music is where I belong.” Mike is a Music Production major in his junior year who has earned a 2.92 grade point average. Mike works as a lifeguard at the Lake Hiawatha Swim Club and in a dentist’s office. In addition to playing guitar and writing songs, Mike is interested in photography. He is from Parsippany, NJ.
Kaitlyn Rose McBurnie
Kaitlyn McBurnie of Atlantic Highlands, NJ is in her senior year, majoring in Music with a concentration in Music Performance. Kaitlyn’s minor is Psychology. She plans to pursue a music teaching career to bring her love of music to children. Professor Ben Neill said: “This aligns with her role as a Musicianship tutor for the Music Program over the past two years in which she has assisted many students with their Musicianship studies. She’s been singing all her life and was thrilled to find like-minded spirits during choral ensemble auditions at Ramapo, with an impromptu sing-along in the halls. She loves Chorale. She has written insightful research essays on early recordings of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” which fits her vocal interests, and the Beatle’s Rubber Soul as a transitional album with new sounds reaching new audiences.” She has earned a 3.56 grade point average.
I am one of three girls in my family. My sisters and I are all in or planning on going to college. This scholarship was a great opportunity for me and my family as I pursue a career as a music teacher.
Rosanna O’Brien is from Nutley, NJ and is majoring in Music with concentrations in Music Industry and Music Production. She is a junior who has earned a 3.79 grade point average. Rosanna plays piano, guitar, bass, mandolin and ukulele. She has been involved in choral ensembles since she was 7 and has performed with various choirs at Carnegie Hall, NJPAC and on tour in Europe and Puerto Rico. She volunteers on campus as an assistant stage manager and is a DJ forWRPR. “I love what I am learning and cannot wait to get into the real world and use it to the best of my ability,” Rosanna says.
This scholarship is important to me and my education because it gives me the opportunity to obtain a boost towards my tuition and will put less financial pressure on me and my family. Also, receiving this scholarship has made me strive to work harder at Ramapo. I want to make the most of the time I have here and earn as much as I can in all of my classes. This scholarship has
allowed me to value my education and has made me determined to succeed in everything I set my mind to.
“My plan, after obtaining all my degrees, includes a career based in music performance and the music industry,” says Stephanie Frugis. Stephanie has been performing in musicals and stage productions and singing in various choirs since she was a student at Paramus Catholic High School. Among her credits are Jeanie in Hair, the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Joanne (Bless the Lord) in Godspell, and Glinda in TheWiz. Stephanie received an associate’s degree in Musical Theatre from the County College of Morris, and is currently enrolled in Ramapo as a Music major concentrating in Music Performance. Her grade point average is 3.85.
To me, this scholarship means my dreams can finally become a reality.
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