Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: Berklee City Music (Page 1 of 5)

Berklee City Music

Celtics Star Brandon Bass Visits Berklee City Music

I’m Justin Poon, a guitarist and hip-hop/electronica producer from Toronto, Canada. I’m currently on my third semester here at Berklee, studying performance and electronic production and design. Last week, I had the chance to see Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass as he sat in with Berklee City Music ensembles.

Bass’s visit to Berklee was in conjunction with the annual Celtics Partner night at last Friday night’s Celtics game, where J. Curtis Warner, associate vice president of education outreach/executive director of Berklee City Music accepted a donation from the Shamrock Foundation towards scholarships, and City Music students sang the national anthem. Bass is into music, singing, and rapping, and is also interested in piano lessons. The City Music students, being Boston natives, were delighted to have the ball player visit, and have someone they look up to be involved in their music. I only wish that Bass had tried his hand in performing, as I was slightly more interested in how his skills were on the bandstand rather than the court.

Read More

Berklee City Music Night at the TD Garden with the Boston Celtics

This blog post was authored by Staff blogger Justin Johnson, Interim Systems Coordinator from Berklee City Music Boston.

As the 2013 NBA season comes to a close, the Boston Celtics hosted the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, April 10.  The game had many playoff implications, which created a very enthusiastic crowd at the TD Garden. The game was also a marquee night for Berklee City Music.  Minutes before tip-off, three City Music High School Academy students––Adeline Um, Melissa Israel, and Grace Mann––stepped on to the court to sing the national anthem. Their beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was met with boisterous applause from the 19,000 fans in attendance.

photo copy 5

Before and during the game City Music work-study students could be seen walking around the arena selling 50/50 raffle tickets.  The 50/50 raffle is conducted each game by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The purpose of the raffle is to provide extra support for the Foundation so that they are able to provide resources to impact youth-based organizations in the community. Berklee City Music will be the beneficiary of a portion of the jackpot.

The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the “Heroes Among Us” award to Dr. Krystal Banfield, Dean of Berklee City Music.  Dr. Banfield was the honoree for her continued commitment to furthering the mission of Berklee City Music through low or no cost, after-school music education and mentorship.

photo copy 3

Dr. Krystal Banfield Accepts the Heros Among Us Award

To cap off the evening a check for $50,000 was presented to Berklee City Music, a contribution from the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. Celtics Co-owner and President of the Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca presented the check to J. Curtis Warner, Jr., Associate Vice President for Education Outreach and Executive Director of Berklee City Music, and Dr. Krystal Banfield.  Berklee City Music sincerely thanks the Boston Celtics for their continued support.

From left to right: J. Curtis Warner, Jr., Associate Vice President for Education Outreach and Executive Director of Berklee City Music; Dr. Krystal Banfield, Dean of Berklee City Music; Stephen Pagliuca, Celtics Co-owner and President of the Shamrock Foundation

From left to right: J. Curtis Warner, Jr., Associate Vice President for Education Outreach and Executive Director of Berklee City Music; Dr. Krystal Banfield, Dean of Berklee City Music; Stephen Pagliuca, Celtics Co-owner and President of the Shamrock Foundation

Who’s Your Unsung Hero?

This blog post was authored by Alexander Polk, Interim Business Systems Coordinator, City Music, in the President’s Office of Education Outreach


The Tenth Annual Berklee City Music Unsung Heroes Breakfast can be summarized in just one word: success! From the awe-inspiring keynote speaker Will Power to the heartfelt send-off words for our beloved colleague Gerline Maldonado—staff, performers, and audience members were well engaged and filled with positive energy.

Bobby Wesley Trio cordially opened our event with several original numbers as well as a mellow Hendrix tune, “Angel.” Guests enjoyed a hot breakfast and caught up with other parents, students, and teachers over coffee. After breakfast, Berklee staff member Abria Smith shared several pieces of original poetry in both traditional and rap form. Other remarkable performances throughout the event included Josue Raymond’s Ensemble, Erica Thomas’s Ensemble from our Mentoring Program, and Chris Rivelli and Marian Wilson’s Ensemble from our Preparatory Academy. The latter performances were especially welcomed as they gave the uncommon opportunity for our younger students to play alongside our college scholars. The energy and liveliness (as well as creativity!) from their music displayed a high-level of talent and professionalism—complimenting our more experienced scholars superbly!

The highlight of the breakfast came through our speaker, Will Power. Will, an award-winning playwright and performer from the San Francisco Bay area, delighted the audience with his artistic enthusiasm. Spectators loved his animated movements, his engaging raps, his hilarious stories…but all were more impressed with his greater message: the honoring of “unsung heroes.”

Will discussed his experiences growing up in difficult neighborhoods throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, and how the arts were a medium of both expression and empowerment for him. Will noted the proximity to our national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps one of the most well known (“sung”) heroes in history. Mentions of Dr. King led perfectly to Will’s key point: although Dr. King left a remarkable legacy, he was not a perfect man; thus, we must not use our imperfections as justification for not making a difference in the world. Flawed or not, we all have the capacity to leave a legacy like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and other “sung” yet imperfect heroes did.

Logistically and sentimentally, this event was, again, a great success! We look forward to hearing from another Unsung Hero next year!  Click here for more photos from the event.



Berklee City Music FIRSTS – Newport Folk Festival

This blog post was authored by Joanne Dill, Project Manager in the Berklee City Music office.


Back in July, the Berklee City Music Gospel Choir performed at the 2012 Newport Folk Festival.  It was a first for Berklee City Music and its students led by Choir Director, Nichelle Mungo.  The choir spent a full day performing “Pop-Up Performances” that inspired many who happened to catch these unannounced sets which took place near the entrance gate, the main stage, the Kid’s Tent, ending with a special performance at the artists’ gate.


They were also filmed by the SOPA production company for an upcoming documentary on the Newport Folk Festival.  They appear here in this series, Behind the Walls.  Check out the video.

It was a wonderful day at the Fortress and we hope to bring the kids back to the Festival this summer.

BCMN’s First-Ever Bilingual Edition ¡Saludos!

Berklee City Music Network Site Feature & Interview with

Two Students from La Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina

Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina is dedicated to encouraging the children of Carolina, Puerto Rico who possess skill and interest in the arts to develop their talent to its fullest potential. In addition to programs in the fine arts, dance and theater, Bellas Artes offers students musical instruction, a variety of ensembles that explore jazz, classical, and bomba, and performance opportunities at local schools and community venues.

Under the stewardship of Director Luis Rodriguez and with music teacher Angel Vigo’s active and engaged collaboration with Berklee City Music, Bellas Artes continues to foster students’ engagement with the arts as well as their own community.
La Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina se dedica a alentar a los niños de Carolina, Puerto Rico que poseen habilidades e interés en las artes, para desarrollar su talento en su máximo potencial.  Además de los programas de bellas artes, danza y teatro, se ofrece a los estudiantes instrucción musical, así como también se les otorga la oportunidad de formar parte de ensambles que exploran jazz, música clásica y bomba. Se les da oportunidades para que interpreten y/o ejecuten la música de sus ensambles en escuelas locales y en escenarios de la comunidad.

Bajo la administración del Director Luis Rodriguez y con la colaboración comprometida del maestro de música Angel Vigo y de Berklee City Music, la Escuela de Bellas Artes continuá fomentando el compromiso de los estudiantes con las artes, así como su propia comunidad.

-Each year the music program at Bellas Artes welcomes approximately 125 new students ages eight and older into the program, for a total of roughly 420 music students. That’s more than half of Bellas Artes’ total enrollment!
-Cada año, el programa de música de Bellas Artes da la bienvenida a aproximadamente 125 nuevos estudiantes mayores de siete años, albergando un total de aproximadamente 420 estudiantes de música.

-Music programs include band, orchestra, bell choir, jazz ensemble, string ensemble, choir, jazz workshop, and bomba workshop, as well as private lessons in a variety of instruments. Many students also concentrate on the cuatro, the traditional Puerto Rican lute.
-Los programas de música incluyen banda, orquesta, ensamble de jazz, “bell choir,” coro, ensamble de cuerdas, clínicas de jazz y clínicas de bomba, así como instrucción privada en una variedad muy amplia de instrumentos. Muchos estudiantes también se focalizan en el “cuatro,” el “laúd” tradicional de Puerto Rico.

-All students participate in choir and receive music theory instruction from the time they enroll at Bellas Artes.
-Todos los estudiantes forman parte del coro, y reciben educación en teoría musical desde que ingresan al programa de Bellas Artes.

-Classes at Bellas Artes are free, and students are only responsible for the registration fee.
-Las clases en Bellas Artes son gratis; los estudiantes son responsables por la cuota de inscripción solamente.

Willian J. Suarez Pereira (left), was born in Venezuela, but he lives in Puerto Rico and his main focus is the guitar, and plays a little bit of piano and drums. Enrique Serrano Cruz (right), born in Puerto Rico, plays the percussion, the congas, timbales, bongos and a little bit of vibraphone.

Willian J. Suarez Pereira nació en Venezuela pero vive en Puerto Rico y se enfoca principalmente en la guitarra, y toca un poco de piano y batería. Enrique Serrano Cruz nació en Puerto Rico; toca las percusiones, las congas, timbales, bongós y un poco de vibráfono.

How was your experience at Five-Week?
It was more than what we imagined, it was about learning so much in so short a time. The body and the blood are asking us to stay a little bit longer.

Fue mucho más de lo que esperabamos, fue aprender mucho en muy poco tiempo. El cuerpo y la sangre nos piden quedarnos un poco más.

Tell us what you learned?
Willian learned to work with other musicians from around the world, improved his guitar technique, increased his knowledge of theory and also his musicality while Enrique says he he learned a lot about new percussion styles, learned how to play drums, and also the “Moveable Do.”

Willian nos comenta que lo que más aprendió fue el trabajar con otros músicos así como el haber mejorado su técnica, aumentado su conocimiento de teoría, así como su musicalidad. Enrique nos dice que aprendió mucho al conocer otros estilos de percusión, pudo aprender un poco de batería, así como acerca del “Do movible.”

Tell us your thoughts on Boston
Enrique doesn’t want to leave Boston. Emilio says that in this city there is always something happening, you can’t stay in your house all the time. “We love Boston, we would love to live here”

Enrique no quiere irse de Boston. Mientras Emilio afirma que lo que más le gusta de Boston es que siempre hay algo que hacer, siempre hay algo sucediendo, no puedes quedarte en tu casa todo el tiempo. “Nos encanta Boston, nos encantaría vivir aquí” afirman los estudiantes de Puerto Rico.

What do you want to tell your network site and family and friends back home?
Enrique says that if there was another word to say ‘Thank you”, he would say it. “Thank You!” to all my friends and relatives that support me.  I owe everything to GOD, he gave me this talent. Willian suggests to his friends from his network to apply to the 5 week, at least just audition for it.  He says there is a lot of talent at their site. About Berklee City Music both of them confess that City music is a joyful experience.

“City Music is a Blessing.  City Music is full of blessings.”

Enrique nos comenta que si hubiera otra palabra para decir Gracias, la diría. ¡Gracias!  a todos nuestros amigos y familiars que nos dieron el apoyo. Todo se lo debo a Dios, El fue quien nos dió este talento. Willian les recomienda a sus amigos de su red, quienes son muy buenos músicos, que probaran el 5-week, o que por lo menos audicionaran para ir al 5 week. Acerca de Berklee City Music, City Music es una experiencia gratificante.

“City Music es una bendición, City Music son bendiciones.”

Page 1 of 5

Copyright © 2024 Berklee College of Music