Artist in Residence – Teen Jazz Band and Orchestra

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Camden, Jamal Dickerson started playing trumpet in second grade. By high school, he was studying with Leon Mitchell and Terrell Stafford. He graduated from Morgan State University in 1999, and earned his master’s in public administration at Rutgers University in 2010. He returned to Camden  to give back to young people. Married and the father of six, Dickerson has his seventh-degree master belt in karate. He teaches martial arts at the community center and directs the UCC Royal Brass Band.

All of his skills in music, martial arts, coupled with sheer determination have made him an accomplished and recognized educator. It’s no surprise that in 2007, he received the distinguished “Oscar for Teaching” known as the Milken Educator Award, established to recognize and celebrate exemplary teaching. Under Dickerson’s direction, the Creative Arts Jazz Band is an award-winning New Jersey finalist band. In 2008, the band became the NJIAJE Division I state champions, and, in 2007 and 2008, won first place at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival. The following year, in 2009, his students won more than $750,000 in scholarships and prizes. In 2010 the high school celebrated the band’s 10th anniversary.

In 2011, Jamal won an Emmy Award for his role in the public television piece: “Classroom Close-Up, N.J. Musical Thread. At the Neighborhood Center, Jamal and his teen Jazz Band and Jazz Orchestra practice and support the Teen Musical Theater productions of the Camden Repertory Theater housed here at the Center.