City Music Spotlight: Caleb Smith

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Grade: 11

Network site: The Cleveland Music Settlement

Hometown: Cleveland

Instrument: Trombone

Years playing: 6 years

First song learned: Hot Cross Buns

Favorite record: Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall- Herbie Hancock

What does Berklee City Music mean to you?

To me, Berklee City Music is something that allows people from all over the country to come together and collectively embrace music. I love that in City Music I am surrounded by people with the same interests as me. Usually, in school, whenever I bring up a topic about music, everyone is very inattentive, but in City Music I can actively talk and share my music with other people who actually care to listen. City Music is also a place where you can learn about many things, whether it’s music, culture, or even getting to know somebody, you can always learn something new with Berklee City Music.

What is it about music that makes you want to be a musician and pursue it as a career?

I believe that music is something that is representative of the human soul. By that, I mean that music is able to define a person better than any combination of words. For example, if I asked someone who they loved listening to and they said Stravinsky; it probably means that they are boisterous, unique, creative, outgoing, and revolutionary. For me, music is the easiest way I am able to express myself. Sure I can tell someone something using words, but I believe it’s more heartfelt and meaningful if it is presented through music.

Who’s had the greatest influence on your life and why?

This might sound cliché, but the person who has had the greatest influence on me is probably my mother. Any good mother should be an extremely strong, confident, determined, and compelling person. I believe that I gained these attributes from my mother because she had them and taught them to me. Since my mother is a preacher, I was raised in a somewhat religious and God fearing home. Through this, I was able to learn how to have faith. I believe that people who have faith tend to be more positive, therefore when a bad situation occurs they respond to it in a positive manner, making the situation less bad.

Outside of music what are your interests and hobbies?

Most of the time, my life is pretty much consumed by music and school work, but because I am part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, I am able to do many fun extra-curricular activities that aren’t necessarily music related. In the IB programme I am required to have at least 150 CAS (Creative, Action, Service) hours, although this can be difficult, I really enjoy doing this and trying to help out the community. Also, in the IB programme, I take the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, where we contemplate how we know what we know. Overall the IB programme is something that exposes me to many different things other than my main focus.


Berklee City Music Network Conference Official Press Release


BCMN Conference Speaker: Traci Slater Rigaud


Traci Slater-Rigaud directs the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities through a cooperative agreement with NASAA. Slater-Rigaud is the former program coordinator for arts in education with the National PTA where she managed the Reflections Program. Prior to the National PTA, she was curator of education at Miami Art Museum. Her work there included developing and managing a broad range of educational programming for school, family, and adult audiences. Slater-Rigaud’s background also includes work as the public programs manager at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where she created and managed large-scale programs for the permanent collection and special exhibitions. She has several years of experience in community-based arts education and has a sincere passion for making the arts accessible to all communities. She holds a B.S. in social science and an M.A. in art education, both from the University of Cincinnati.

Traci will be a featured speaker at this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis. If you want to get with other leaders in education, register for the conference here.

BCMN Conference Speaker: Courtney Harrell

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Born and raised in Boston, MA, Harrell is no stranger to music excellence. She honed her crafts by attending the world-renowned Berklee College of Music and is inspired by legendary singer/songwriters Fred Hammond, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Babyface, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and Eric Clapton, to name a few. Obviously, her diverse influences have shaped her as an artist and songwriter. However, no one has had a greater influence on her than her own parents; both pastors and both musically gifted.

To date, Harrell has worked with many industry greats including John Legend, Chris Brown, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Mario, The Roots, Kelly Rowland, and producers Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, Claude Kelly, Harmony “H Money” Samuels, Benny Benassi, Alex Da Kid, The Underdogs and more. Certainly, the list will continue to grow.

To hear from Courtney and other leaders in education, register for the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis!

BCMN Conference Speaker: Jeffrey Walker


Jeff Walker currently serves on the Boards of New Profit, Berklee College of Music, Morgan Library, Lincoln Center Film Society, Millennium Development Goals Health Alliance where he Chairs the Community Health Worker Pillar, The Miller Center and University of Virginia’s Undergraduate Business School, where he was President for ten years. He is a partner in Bridge Builders investment fund. Jeff is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium, Chairman of The Council of Foundations at University of Virginia (UVA), serves on the Visiting Committee at the Harvard Business School and is on the Advisory Boards of MIT Media Lab, UCLA Film TV and Theater School, Center for Contemplative Sciences at UVA, Blue School, The Tibetan Village Project, and He is President of the 15 Central Park West Board.

Previously, Jeff was Executive-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on social enterprises and collaboration, and a Lecturer at the Kennedy School. At Harvard, he also helped to develop and launch a course in exponential fundraising for nonprofit leaders at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. He served as the Chairman of Millennium Promise, with the United Nations and Columbia University, an incubator to eliminate extreme poverty, and was the long-time Chairman of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), where he still serves as an Emeritus Trustee. Jeff Co-Founded and was Chairman of Npower, an organization that provides shared technology services to nonprofits.

For the opportunity to interact with  Jeffrey Walker and other leaders in education, register for the Berklee City Music Network Conference!

BCMN Conference Speaker: Libby Chiu


Prior to her role as the Chief of Staff at the Illinois Council, Libby Lai-Bun Chiu was the Senior Advisor for Learning where she managed the Arts and Foreign Language Grants program and directed the Education Leaders Institute, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. She is an adjunct professor of two courses – Arts Education and International Arts Policy, at Goucher College; she is a consultant specializing in program evaluation.

Libby is an active member of the Asian Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy; she has served in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations in various sectors. Libby Chiu will be a featured guest speaker at this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis. To learn more from leaders in music education, register here!

BCMN Conference Speaker: Will Power


Will Power is an award-winning playwright and performer. Power’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy Seven Against Thebes, retitled “The Seven,” enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run at the New York Theater Workshop and The La Jolla Playhouse. His solo show, FLOW, was featured in the Hip Hop Theater Festival before touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim.

Power’s numerous awards include a United States Artists Prudential Fellowship, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the TGG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a Jury Award for Best Theater Performance at HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, a Drama Desk Award nomination, and the Trailblazer Award from The National Black Theater Network.

Powers’ numerous film and television appearances include The Steven Colbert Report (Comedy Central), Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS). Presently, Power is in the process of developing new works for The Dallas Theater Center, The Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, Hartford Stage, and The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Will Power will be a featured speaker at this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis. To learn more from top leaders in music education, register for the conference here!

Food in Memphis: Interactive Map

Memphis is famous for two things: music and food. The two complement each other to offer one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States. In Memphis, the food is rich in flavor, but cheap in price. The local BBQ is well-known, and you can sample it “wet” – with spicy, tangy sauce – or “dry” – rubbed with spices before cooking. Above is a map of low to moderately priced dining options in Memphis. It includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

If you haven’t signed up to join us in Memphis for the Berklee City Music Network Conference 2013, register here!

A Testimonial on the Berklee Five-Week Experience by Ahmari Underwood

Ahmari Underwood

The Berklee City Music 5 week experience is one that changed my life. Before I went to the Berklee 5 week program I was unsure what to expect. I heard many testimonies from a variety of different people who had already experienced what I had yet to. Although I had many affirmations as to how awesome the experience was, I was still filled with doubt. I did not think that 5-weeks during the summer would completely change the way I view my life; but it did.

I learned so much about myself, my musical capability, and how to cope being so far away from home. While I was in Boston for the Berklee 5 Week program I was tested mentally. I was placed into an ensemble that was required to play some extremely advanced jazz music that I had never fathomed performing. However, hardwork, perseverance, and pushing myself mentally each day allowed me to reach new heights. Not only was the 5-week experience one that allowed me to stretch my mental capacity musically, it was one that allowed me to be involved with a plethora of young musicians who were doing the same. For this reason alone, along with many others, I was able to make some really good friends who I would even consider “life-long friends”.

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to grow in such a way that I never thought that I could have. The amazing staff and facuty at Berklee, the ensemble leaders, peer leaders and advisors, and the list goes on. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to represent City Music during this amazing conquest, because they are the ones who pushed me, helped me remain focused, and treated me as family. I am a blessed man. I’d like to personally thank everyone who helped me get to where I am today, and I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity experience the Berklee 5-week summer program to meet it head on and make the most of every single note. Thank you.

BCMN Conference Speaker: Andrew Davis

Andy Davis

Andrew Davis founded the Music Empowers Foundation in 2010. Music Empowers provides financial support to nonprofits that offer innovative music education to children in communities with limited or nonexistent music programs. He began his career as a seasoned marketing executive with over 30 years of leadership experience at companies such as Proctor & Gamble and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. He is a member of the board of trustees at Little Kids Rock and the board of directors of the Craig School, and through his foundation, the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium.

Andrew will be a featured speaker at this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference in Memphis. To learn more from leaders in music education, register for the conference here!