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Young musician getting a real education in Boston

Bradenton’s John Orr has been in Boston only four months, but the Berklee College of Music freshman understands this much:

Do not dis’ the Bosox.

“The Rays and Red Sox was quite the experience,” the 18-year-old bass guitarist said of the ALCS won by Tampa Bay. “The morning after Game 7, you never saw so many downcast people.”

Did John talk any smack?

Uh, no.

“I didn’t want to end up in the hospital,” he said, laughing.

John is a Presidential Scholar, a grant started by Berklee in 2005 that covers tuition, housing and fees for promising young musicians.

“There is absolutely no way I’d be at Berklee without it,” he said.

A Fayetteville, Ga., native, John’s family moved here in time for John to join Anna Maria Island Middle School’s jazz band playing trumpet and bass.

Then came Booker High School’s visual and performing arts program and Booker’s jazz combo.

Not only did they win first place at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival, but John won outstanding musician.

Besides core courses, his Berklee classload includes classes in harmony, ear training and music technology.

Jazz and funk are John’s favorite styles, but he’s open to anything.

“My whole thing is experiencing music with a wide variety of people as possible,” he said. “Music in Boston is an education itself.”

n Rowlett Elementary’s Jayci Karl, a budding gymnast, is 7. Cheers from parents John and Darla and sister Jordyn.

n Tracey Vita’s School of Dance Christmas Shows have kept her talented young ladies busy. Every year Tracey takes a group of 30 students to assisted living homes like The Shores, The Towers, Summerfield, Summerville, Golden Pond and Veranda.

After performing for the residents, they give each of them a small gift.

Team Vita was at opening night at The Shores with Marge Vita as emcee, granddaughter April Vita, daughter of John and Tompie, and great-grandaughter Teagan Baulsir, daughter of Jonathan and Debbie.

n Daughtrey Preparatory School of Arts and Sciences fifth-graders Stacey Olmos and Jarely Savedra spearheaded a collection of gifts for All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. With an assist from guidance counselor Kacey Bloski and other students, teachers and parents, they collected more than 200 gifts from students, staff and the community.

Vin’s People, runs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Have a column item? A photo you want to share? Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at