Niko’s love of music began at age 2 as he watched and conducted along to the “Three Tenors” video. Beginning in the fourth grade, he joined the Del Dayo band playing the clarinet & sax; however, Niko found his true calling in Arden’s jazz band under the direction of Rick Baker who instilled his desire to become the next great jazz guitarist. Steve Homan, master jazz guitarist and private instructor, stoked Niko’s passion under his expert tutelage as well as his music directors at Rio Americano High School (RAHS). By age 15, Niko formed his own jazz combo, Jazz Eclectic, with fellow RAHS musicians. They performed 3 times prior to his untimely death due to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood. He enjoyed composing music and his final performance, 8 days prior to his passing, included his composition “Brainstorm.”
Niko inspired us with his dedication and goals. He touched so many with his humor, kindness, & creativity. He enjoyed attending the UOP Brubeck Institute Jazz Camp and the inspiration he attained through his teachers and fellow students.
A full-tuition legacy scholarship for the UOP Brubeck Institute Jazz Camp was established by Niko’s mother, brother and grandparents, Earl and Niki Heal; the endowment fund reached perpetuity with the support of family and friends. Niko’s Scholarship is open to jazz band students currently attending high school in the SJUSD.
Scholarships are available to high school SJUSD Jazz Band students to attend the Brubeck Institute Jazz Camp. To apply, complete the application and send a one-page resume detailing your performance experience along with a CD or link to a YouTube video no more than 10 minutes in length. The recording must include an excerpt from a standard jazz solo and improvisation. Accompaniment is optional. Applications for the next round of scholarships will open in February 2022.
For more information and to request an application, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.946.2416.