Valley Musician Chosen for Grammy Camp


A Valley senior will be in the midst of the glitz and glamour of the Grammy Awards while he participates in concerts and instructional sessions through an elite program for young jazz musicians.

Jared Freiburg is the only Iowa teen selected for this year’s Grammy Camp —­ Jazz Session, which will draw 32 students from across the country to Los Angeles the first week of February. Freiburg, one of two tenors in the camp’s jazz choir, completed a series of vocal performances and transcription exercises over two months to audition for the program.

Freiburg decided it would be a great challenge to try out for the camp. “I thought, well, it’s a longshot but if I don’t try, I’ll never know,” he said.

Freiburg learned of his selection in November, when he got a call verifying his contact information and then a package arrived full of sheet music and other material he must master before he arrives in Los Angeles Jan. 30. He is required to submit vocal tracks for critique every week until he leaves for camp.

The students in the jazz choir, combo and band will have only two days to rehearse together and Freiburg expects “they’ll come with their game faces on.” He wants to be ready.

“Right now it’s putting in the hard work so I can have the fun later,” he said.

The young musicians will perform at several venues, including a pre-Grammys celebration for the nominees and the award show’s after-party. Freiburg and the other teens will also be in the audience at the Feb. 8 award show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

While Freiburg acknowledged camp members will surely be seated toward the back of the auditorium, he’s still excited to see so many bold-faced names from the music industry. “It will be an experience to go to the Grammys and be in that room.”

Students will jam with several professional jazz musicians and record some tracks at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. Country performer/songwriter Hunter Hayes will rehearse with the group and perform with them during a Feb. 4 concert.

Along with sharpening his skills and meeting other young jazz fans from across the country, the camp will also give Freiburg a chance to meet representatives from several college-level jazz programs. A number of university music schools will offer scholarships to students chosen for the camp.

Freiburg has not yet selected a college but knows he wants to focus on jazz vocals. He first learned of the complexities of jazz from his grandfather, who played in bands as a young man and taught Freiburg to read and play music.

Freiburg took piano lessons for several years and later picked up the guitar. He now learns new music by ear and teaches himself to play, improvising and making the melody his own. He enjoys playing at the downtown farmers market and at area retirement facilities and assisted living centers.

Growing up listening to Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and other crooners not only sparked Freiburg’s interest in jazz but flavored his musical tastes for life.

He doesn’t listen to anything that came out after 1989, Freiburg said, instead focusing on tunes from the 1940s to 1970s, including some ’50s rock in his jazzed-up playlist. “I’ve always liked the old stuff,” he said.