By: Jason Camelio, Director of International Programs
We have closed out another year at Berklee in Puerto Rico. The final concert, held on Sunday, June 3rd showcased the fine talent and hard work of the students and the faculty members from the week-long program. In just over 4-hours, 16 bands performed dozens of pieces of music running the stylistic gamut. From small group jazz and rock to the hair-raising large jazz orchestra and choirs, the show was a fantastic success. Huge thanks goes out to Carolyn Wilkins, Darcel Wilson, Greg Badolato, Eguie Castrillo, Ken Cervenka, Rick Peckham, Bob, Pilkington and Casey Scheuerell.
As a result of the work of the Berklee faculty members in Puerto Rico for the past 17-years, we have seen a steady rise in the level of skill and musicianship in the young students here. This increase in talent has made it possible for more and more students to continue their studies at Berklee as full-time students. From Miguel Zenon and Ruben Amador to Nannette Velez and Carlos Ayala to Kalani Trinidad and Edmar Colon…the list will go on and on. Special thanks goes to trustee and Berklee alum Luis Alvarez for his support of this event, Larry Monroe and Greg Badolato for their dedication to the program over these years and to Joey Sala for all the work he does to help us pull off a successful program year after year.
And with the close of each Berklee in Puerto Rico program we have an awards ceremony. The awards include Berklee Online courses, awards from the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe, 5 Week Summer Performance Program Scholarships and awards towards Full-Time Study. For the past few years, we been conducting auditions and interviews (A&I) at the program in order to assist students on their path to Berklee. The first year that we conducted A&I at the program, we were able to jump from awarding $70,000 in partial tuition scholarships based on only nominations from faculty members to approximately $300,000 based on the A&I — which allows for acceptance consideration to the college and higher scholarship award potential. Last year, we cleared the $700,000 mark. This year, we have hit a major watershed. With the level of talent at a steady rise, it was inevitable. This year the director of scholarships Tod Oliviere was excited to announce that the total amount of awards being made to Berklee’s programs in Boston exceed $1 million dollars.
So, here is what $1 million dollars looks like. Congratulations!