Spencer Leonard

ALTON - The Miles Davis Jazz Committee recently honored Alton High School graduate Spencer Leonard for his hard work and passion for music.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

Leonard, who graduated with a 4.591 GPA, made a name for himself both in and out of the classroom. The guitarist and saxophone player was recognized for his musical talent as well as his academic excellence.

“Jazz is not just music; it’s a story of overcoming, a testament to the resilience of some of my favorite artists — Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk,” Leonard said. “Their stories have inspired me to embrace adversity and transform it into a learning experience.”

At Alton High School, Leonard was known as an outstanding student, with memberships in the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and Tri-M Honor Society. All three require high grades and many hours of community service. He was also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Biology Club and Physics Club.

But his passion for music goes beyond all of this. Leonard began playing guitar at the age of 7. At age 10, he picked up the saxophone and fell in love with the instrument, developing a special fondness for jazz.

Article continues after sponsor message

In high school, Leonard was a featured soloist with the Alton High Jazz Band, Jazz Combo and Wind Ensemble. He also won the Arion Award, which is awarded to musicians with “an extreme level of musical skill and dedication to their craft,” explained his teacher Christopher Jarden.

“Whatever group Spencer participates in, he always does a fantastic job and inspires those around him to better themselves, too,” Jarden added. “Over the years that I have known him, he has consistently embodied all the traits and qualities of a fantastic musician.”

Leonard knows that pursuing a career in music is not without its challenges. He noted that it’s difficult to stand out among other talented musicians, and the experience can be unpredictable with a need for constant growth. But he looks forward to his next chapter.

The Miles Davis Jazz Committee awarded Leonard a $500 scholarship, which he will put toward his education at Berklee College of Music. He plans to double major in jazz performance and music education.

“I understand that my path will shape my journey along with the lives of those I will one day teach,” Leonard said. “In the jazz chart of life, each of us plays a unique part, and I am ready to compose mine with passion, dedication and the unwavering belief that through music, I can do anything.”

Congratulations to Spencer Leonard!

More like this:

Jun 4, 2024 - Capacity Crowd Celebrates Music and Scholarships At Miles Davis Jazz Fest in Alton

Jun 3, 2024 - Miles Davis Jazz Scholarship Recipient Aniya Morrow Celebrates Passion for Music and Hard Work

Jun 4, 2024 - Miles Davis Jazz Scholarship Recipient Jacob Schaper Recognized for Hard Work and Dedication to Studies

Jun 4, 2024 - Miles Davis Jazz Scholarship Recipient LaMyah Woods Shows Academic Excellence and Musical Passion

Jun 3, 2024 - Miles Davis Jazz Scholarship Recipient Rachel Ware Noted for Choral Success and Academic Achievement

Related Video:

Miles Davis Statue Unveiled in Alton

Miles Davis Jazz Festival