We are following up on our previous post, and filling in the rest of the story about the recent tour with the Berklee City Music All Stars, Kris Allen, American Idol winner, and The Music Empowers Foundation. Here you will find quotes from our student band members, video clips of the students performing on stage with Kris, and stellar action photos. This experience was unforgettable, and effective at spreading awareness for the need and benefit of music education.

“The Philly show was the BEST. The adrenaline in the room was insane, we were so pumped. Playing for our peers wasn’t as intimidating as we anticipated, everybody was into it, the vibe was so chill and cool, we were already gelling […] WE’RE A BAND, we’re not a bunch of urban kids City Music threw together and played but we’re a band now, we’re a family. Kris Allen was so cool and laid back and he could SING, he was bad…bad in a good way! He has so much soul.” -Erica Telisnor, Keyboards

“My experience on the Kris Allen/Berklee/Music Empowers tour was definitely unforgettable. From early morning wake up calls and awesome nights hanging out with the band… a lot of memories were made on the tour! It was such a fantastic opportunity and an amazing couple of days! Although, sometimes it started to feel like one continuous day. But, it was awesome because, that made it feel like we had all the time in the world to enjoy ourselves and take in every moment!” -Brittany Butler, Guitar and Vocals

“One of the things that will stick with me is how Kris carried himself. He’s a very dynamic performer, but he wasn’t arrogant, he was very kind and always had time to talk. I didn’t get the “star” vibe from him at all, he was extremely approachable and down to earth. As I mature in music and performance, I have learned that there can be some interesting personalities in the music business, and realize that I have been blessed to have teachers and role models that are so absent of pride, filled with honesty and a desire to share what they have learned. I would like to follow in their footsteps, that’s the type of musician I would like to be.
Always honest, always learning, and always humble.” -John Margaris, Bass

“The other day we performed for the Nueva Esperanza Charter School in Philadelphia. The kids were screaming at the top of their lungs for us as well as Kris. It’s so nice to see that type of reaction because we are just like them, and here we are performing for them and they are going nuts like it is a concert for some big superstar. Of course as soon as Kris comes on you see the girls falling to the ground, jumping around excited to see him and be SO close. After the performance, we had a Q&A session with some of the kids. They asked us questions from “what is your favorite sport?” to “what inspired us to pursue music?” They seemed inspired by us because we too are just high school students yet here we are touring with Kris Allen!” -Jennifer Carino, Vocals

“When it came time to go onstage and the lights came on, I went out and saw a HUGE CROWD! Their energy was off the charts! I felt so comfortable up on stage and I really felt like this is what I want to do when I grow up, be a musician.” -Mario Taddeo Jr., Drums

“I hope that more people like us will have this great opportunity to go out and play for people, because it really has been an excellent experience for me. I’m glad that Berklee City Music has these opportunities, and I hope to be able to continue with my learning with them.”
-David Estes-Smargiassi, Guitar

“We’re all back in Boston now, and in all honesty, it’s heartbreaking. The tour was a BLAST and Kris was such a great person to get to know. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to do something like this, and it proved to me that I want to KEEP doing it. I think the greatest part was also getting to know my own band even more. I guess that’s what life on the road does to you; you don’t really know a person until you have to share the same shower!” -Emily Ronna, Guitar and Vocals