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Tag: Delta Blues Museum

Delta Blues Museum

Mississippi scholarship winners announced in more intimate confines

The Berklee Mississippi Exchange Band. From left: Saxophonist Mario Castro, bassist Lenny Stallworth, drummer Taylor Gordon, and keyboardist Eric Finland.

The Berklee Mississippi Exchange Band headed to the Delta Blues Museum’s outdoor stage, ready for their first set of the day.  It would be during the Juke Joint Festival debut by a Berklee group when the summer scholarship winner would be revealed.  Both contenders, with family members and close friends were stage side, waiting, smiling politely, keeping cool.  The two young women in all of their composure made an impression, and were an example to emulate when, suddenly, we realized that there were no drums or backline on stage.

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The snare drum rolls in Clarksdale for the summer scholarship applicants

From left: Kyleen Thomas and Paula Thompson, Delta Blues Museum Arts & Education Program students.

I can’t imagine what the two young women have been thinking since their scholarship auditions at the Delta Blues Museum on Thursday.  Jacquline Gooch and Paula Thompson, students from the Delta Blues Museum’s Arts & Education Program, were both outstanding.  Gooch, 19, accompanied herself on a guitar with a sliver of worn wood below the sound hole that looked like a scar.  I imagined the hours she’s played her instrument, writing her own songs and learning others.  Thompson, 15, stood with the microphone in hand and sang for a small audience of family and museum staffers.  Kyleen Thomas, 12, another museum student, played bass while instructor Daddy Rich played guitar for Thompson.  Rich, museum gift shop manager Chris Coleman, Berklee professor Lenny Stallworth and I judged the two singers and multi instrumentalists.  It’s hard to choose one of them when there are two talented and deserving hopefuls.

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A musical and educational exchange grows in Mississippi

Year three.  The principal mission of the trip to the most Southern place on earth remains the same: finding two young musicians qualified for the Five-Week Summer Performance Program and awarding them full scholarships. What is new, is that now I have company down here.  No longer is it just I, Allen Bush/Berklee PR guy/deep fan of Mississippi music and culture, but now a team of students, faculty and another administrator.

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Alumni at the Juke Joint Fest

In between sets by the Delta Blues Museum’s Arts and Education Program and Grammy-winning Delta blues legend Honeyboy Edwards, I had the chance to catch-up with a couple of people who had spent time on Berklee’s campus.

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