Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center: The Paragon, Vol 1

This is a guest post from Lizzie Zink, a rising senior at BCMN site Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The Paragon Logo Color

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is a compilation album created by the students at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center.

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free album tackles many of the controversial topics that are at the forefront of our national discourse. Issues such as racial stereotypes, depression, youth violence, suicide, police brutality and identity are discussed through the musical journey this project takes you on. The ideas expressed in these songs are an accurate representation of the challenges that many youth around the country face on a daily basis. It was our goal to address these songs artistically in a variety of genres. Hip-Hop, Singer Songwriter, Spoken word, Reggae, and Neo Soul are all represented on the project.

The musical pieces represented on the album are mix of self composed works and covers. The pieces assembled were chosen by the students to create a comprehensive narrative that emotionally take the listener into their world in a way that very few think pieces or media reports can. In fact, we often refer to the project as an audio publication or soundtrack to our life’s movie because the relevance of the songs carry an authenticity that traditional descriptions don’t capture. The album features covers of artists such as Gil Scott Heron, Birdy, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway, along with many brilliant originals. The depth of the lyrics written by my peers provides clarity of the situations that we struggle with and their articulation of a circumstance and the feeling is truly inspiring. The students featured on this album are some of Fort Hayes’ best and brightest musicians and have a desire to use their gift to express the need for awareness and action in society today.

Fixing society’s flaws is no easy task, but if we raise our voices together as one, we will be heard. Throughout the creation of this project, we constantly reminded ourselves that every individual has a voice and because of that we are confident that our voices will be heard amongst the noise.

In short, the ideas expressed within the album are presented by students to students and to those struggling to overcome obstacles or those watching someone struggle… which ultimately includes everyone. These are universal messages that can provide assurance that a person is not alone in their suffering and that there is indeed hope in our world.

We created The Paragon to inspire hope, inspire dialogue and spark a fire to change the world. We lifted our voices, and now it’s the time for them to be heard so that everybody knows that the revolution is starting. “The revolution will not be televised… The revolution will be live”, says WaTeasa Freeman in “The Revolution”. This revolution starts with us, and we extend our hand for you to join us in order to ensure that Someday We’ll All Be Free.

The Paragon Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is available on iTunes, Tidal, Amazon Music, & Spotify

-Lizzie Zink

Lizzie Link

 

For more information on The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free contact: Tony Anderson, Ph.D. at MichaelAnthonyAnderson@gmail.com
The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free Interview playlist.
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Five-Week Alumni Advice: Nicolina

This is a guest post by Nicolina from BCMN site Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland, Pennsylvania. Nicolina attended Five-Week in 2015.

Nicola

What did you find most rewarding about your Five-Week experience? What I found most rewarding about the Five-Week was the level of intensity in the classes and ensembles that pushed me to want to be a better vocalist. You’re never going to be perfect there is always something to be working on; the students and the faculty helped me strengthen my weaknesses.

What surprised you most about your experience? Something that surprised me about Five-Week was the amount of raw talent and dedication pouring out of all the students. It was so inspiring to see all these kids coming in from all over the world to focus on their instrument.

What piece of advice would you give a student who is attending for the first time? Put yourself out there. Have confidence in your music because it’s your music and nobody writes or plays your music better than you. I realized at Five-Week that nobody is better or worse than you-they are different and that’s what makes our music unique. Take every opportunity. You get to work with some amazing people and perform at some awesome venues. Keep in mind you’re around some of the most talented people in the world- use that to your advantages.

Five Week Alumni Advice: Yancy Garcia

This is a guest post by Amp Up NYC student Yancy Garcia. Yancy attended five-week as a summer scholar in 2015.

YancyGarcia

What did you find most rewarding about your five-week experience? Outside of having the opportunity to meet industry professionals and getting great advice from them, the most rewarding experience would be the classes. My ensembles were great and I learned how to work with my peers during rehearsals and how to arrange our songs. My favorite, though, would have to be my music theory classes. Every lesson was engaging and my teacher was very enthusiastic – I gained a lot of musical knowledge.

What surprised you most about your experience? The most surprising experience at Five-Week would be getting to meet other students from all around the world. I met kids from South America, Europe, and all around the United States. I have never been in an environment with so many culturally diverse students.

What piece of advice would you give a student who is attending for the first time? For a new incoming student to the Five-Week program, I would definitely say to bring more than enough clothes because 5 weeks are longer than it sounds! But, really, go to the program with an open mind and be willing to get out of your comfort zone.

 

Amp Up NYC® is a music education pilot initiative designed to accelerate the adoption of Modern Band music programs in New York City public schools. Founded by Berklee College of Music, Little Kids Rock, and the New York City Department of Education, Amp Up NYC provides teacher training, classroom instruction, interactive online technology, and instrument donation that help schools establish contemporary music programs.

Studying Abroad at Berklee Valencia

City Music Boston Scholar Grace Mann traveled to Spain for the Fall 2015 semester to study abroad. Below is a guest post about her experience at the Berklee Valencia campus.

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When people ask me how Valencia was, I’ve developed a habit of saying, “Warmer than Boston” as if sunny weather was all the little city had to offer. Don’t get me wrong, shorts in November is a phenomenon I think every person should have the privilege of enjoying at some point in their life, but it was not the sole reason I’d encourage everyone to study abroad. The opportunity to live in a foreign country doesn’t present itself too often. Musicians may tour, families may travel, but these experiences provide mere glimpses of a culture. Living in Valencia for an entire semester granted me the time to explore.

Image 3At least once a day I found myself nestled inside La Pequeña Patselería de Mama drinking a café con leche and eating a croissant. It was one of my favorite hideaways from school. Run by only three women, every cup of coffee, every piece of cake, every stack of pancakes felt personal. I loved stumbling through my Spanish with them because they were always willing to help me figure out what I was trying to say. Valencia is filled with nooks and crannies just like Mma’s. Some students like me had a favorite coffee shop and a favorite restaurant, others had a favorite bar and a favorite club. Whatever your preference, Valencia is home to places that make you feel at home.

Studying abroad in Valencia also supplies endless opportunities for travelling. Flying in Europe is an extremely different experience than in the United States. Websites such as Vueling and Ryanair provide access to cheap flights all around the EU. Along with flights, Europe also has a fairly simple train network. Since I studied abroad in the Fall semester, I chose to stay in Europe for winter break and I know others who have stayed well into summer after Spring semester. Other students take advantage of their weekends and travel then. During my 5 months in Europe, my primary residence was in Valencia, but I had the opportunity to explore 6 countries, 15 different towns and cities.

Image 2Studying abroad may sound daunting, but it’s not as intimidating as you think. You have the chance to explore a new country and a new part of yourself while also having the comfort of an entire study abroad class by your side. I encourage anyone who is thinking about it and maybe having hesitations to reach out to an alumni of the program like myself. We will have answers to all the questions you think aren’t worth asking!

JazzBoston helps orchestrate a field trip for City Music Boston students to attend Newport Jazz Festival

Grace Mann is a City Music Scholar from Boston, MA, and is currently studying at Berklee College of Music.

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarten
Photo Credit: Jean Hangarten

Bright and early on Friday, July 31, a group of Boston students attending the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program on City Music Summer Scholarships headed to the Newport Jazz Festival on a little yellow school bus. This amazing opportunity was only possible because of the generosity and kindness of JazzBoston, Natixis Global Asset Management, and Newport Festivals Foundation. The students in attendance were bubbling with excitement to have the chance to see some of their idols perform and could not be more grateful to both organizations for giving them this opportunity.

On our way to the festival we heard from Dr. Leonard Brown, who was invited by JazzBoston to speak to us. Dr. Brown is a professional musician and recently retired as an associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston. Dr. Brown reminded us of the history that surrounds the jazz festival. He discussed how Newport, which began in 1954, witnessed the Civil Rights Movement and mentioned that, “even with existing social pressures, the festival continued.” It was interesting to hear about how the music at Newport withstood the heavy social storms of America since its establishment.

The students started their day at Newport with a presentation from Dr. Wes, founder of the Jazz and Democracy Project, that was arranged by Natixis. He encouraged the students to talk about what’s it’s like when they’re “in the moment” or “in the zone” on stage. One student related his experience on stage to how he feels when he’s driving a car. On the road he feels free, but at the same time he is aware of the other drivers around him, just as he’s aware of the other band members during a performance.

After the workshop everyone was allowed to roam free! Most students were looking forward to Snarky Puppy who was the last band of the day. Joshua Sutherland, a student from City Music Boston, said his favorite part of the festival was seeing Corey Henry perform, stating, “I would have been upset for the rest of the year if he didn’t perform.” The Christian McBride Trio was another highlight from the festival. Many students sat in the front row mesmerized by his amazing performance. The energy and spirit of the trio was captivating.

Overall the day at Newport was a success. By the time the wheels on the bus starting rolling us back to Boston, almost everyone was drifting to sleep in their seats, exhausted from such a full day of inspiration and excitement at the festival.

#5to5week: Alumni Advice from Yesseh Furaha Ali

As part of our #5to5week countdown to 2015 Five Week, we asked five week alumni what advice they have for students that are getting ready to travel to Boston. Today, we’re featuring Saxophone player and Berklee College of Music student Yesseh Furaha Ali.

Yesseh Furaha Ali
#5to5week Yesseh Furaha Ali

“I attended five-week for three summers (2012-2014). Every year I learned something new, developed and matured as musician and an overall individual, and made many connections from people all across the world who I still keep in contact with till this day. To me, my favorite part of five week was just being around diversity in music, people, classes, teachers, etc. I felt as though being in this type of an environment allowed me to express myself freely amongst other musicians. My advice to you students, first and foremost is to thank the people who’ve helped you and guided you to get to this point in your young musical careers, especially your City Music site and the staff and administration at Boston City Music for providing you with this wonderful opportunity to be apart of this summer experience many dream of attending ON A SCHOLARSHIP.  So definitely be thankful for that. Also, always keep in mind that you are a representation of your city, your City Music site, Berklee, your family, and anyone else who has helped you along the way. Remember that there is a time and place for everything but when it’s time to work, it’s time to work. Professionalism goes a long way in anything you do, and keep in mind that you are auditioning 24/7 wherever you go. Like my late music teacher would say, ‘It’s how you look, how you act, and how you sound.’ Keep this in mind and many opportunities will open up. And lastly, have fun! Definitely explore Boston and take as much in in these five weeks as you can! Congrats to all of you, and I hope you take full advantage of this experience!”

Follow along on social media with #5to5week and follow us on Facebook.

SAVE THE DATE: August 11, 2015, 7:30pm BPC – 2015 Scholarship Concert

#5to5week Ensemble Director: Marty Walsh

As we count down to Five Week, Berklee City Music is interviewing our Five Week City Music ensemble directors. Today, we’re featuring Marty Walsh, director of the Five Week City Music Pop/Rock Ensemble.

Ensemble director Marty Walsh with Five Week student.
Ensemble director Marty Walsh with Five Week student.

What are you looking forward to most this summer?

Working with very talented City Music musicians.

 

What advice can you give to students to get the most out of your ensemble?

Think above all else what is right for the song. It’s not about individual performances, it’s about how the group performs as a whole

 

Many students travel from far away – what is one thing you think students should do/see/eat while in Boston?

Go to a Red Sox game. Fenway park is the classic old school baseball stadium.

 

SAVE THE DATE: August 11, 2015 at the Berklee Performance Center, 7:30pm

WATCH highlights from the 2014 Scholarship Concert:

Follow along on social media using #5to5week

 

2015 Scholarships – We are all winners!

This post was written by Dr. Krystal Banfield, Dean, Berklee City Music

“We all sat around the computer awaiting the answer! When I opened the college scholarship computer portal and saw that I was awarded a college scholarship! My entire family burst into tears. I had received the City Music full tuition college scholarship. Thank you! ”

This was shared by one of our City Music students having just received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music. The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child,” is true. We all have had some influence on our students, which has contributed to their success. Yet, how can we know success, if the evidence does not arrive in the way of a scholarship? These are questions we readily ask as we prepare our students by building their skills and guiding them so that they would have the capability to attain choices—to pursue their dreams, to be leaders in their communities, to have purpose, to be responsible, to have the ability to enrich their own lives and the lives of others. In doing so, we know it takes being committed to a concentric circle that includes you, your students and their families, their teachers, schools and the greater communities. But how can we create this for more of our students who by national statistics still fall far behind their more advantaged peers? It is possible to leverage our relationships collectively, to share what works, and be determined in our efforts as we look to endeavor earlier preparation for each student. Let us establish a national dialogue, with a goal to create a consistent standard that provides opportunities for each student who joins our community. But, first let’s celebrate our next cohort of 2015 scholarship awardees!

15 – Awarded City Music College Scholarships
Camden Repertory Theater
Campus Club Milledgeville
City Music Boston
Cleveland Music Settlement
East Bay Center-Performing Arts
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
Phoenix Conservatory of Music
Project RYTMO
Richmond Youth Jazz Guild
Stax Music Academy

120 – City Music Summer Scholarships
2xSalt Ministry
A Place Called Home
Bahama Village Music Program
Boys & Girls Harbor
Camden Repertory Theater
Campus Club Milledgeville
City Music Boston
Cleveland Music Settlement
East Bay Center-Performing Arts
Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina
Fort Hayes Metro Education Center
Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Lincoln Park Perform Arts Center
Motivational Edge
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
One World
Philadelphia Clef Club
Phoenix Conservatory of Music
Project RYTMO
Richmond Youth Jazz Guild
Sarah McLachlan School of Music
Sitar Center
Stax Music Academy
Tipitina’s Foundation
Wilmington Youth Jazz Band
Woodlawn Musical Arts/Audiostate 55

Emcee Kiki Haynes (Actress, Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse) and Walter McCarty (Assistant Coach, Boston Celtics) joined Berklee President Roger Brown, Associate Vice President for Education Outreach and Executive Director of Berklee City Music J. Curtis Warner, and Dean of City Music Krystal Banfield to present 18 Berklee City Music Network Students with full-tuition scholarships to Berklee College of Music
2014 College Scholarship Recipients with emcee Kiki Haynes, Walter McCarty, Berklee President Roger Brown, Associate Vice President for Education Outreach J. Curtis Warner, and Dean of City Music Krystal Banfield

BCMN On the Road: Campus Club Milledgeville

This post is #4 in a guest series from BCMN Registrar Andrew Sammut after his visit to 4 BCMN Sites this spring.

Campus Club Milledgeville

Last but far from least on Arin and Andrew’s southeastern Network trip was Campus Club Milledgeville. Leadership team Gregory and Toyia Barnes partner with public schools, nearby Georgia College and local business leaders to offer musical instruction to the K-12 students of Milledgeville, GA and surrounding areas.

Our day began with an introduction by Toyia to Dr. Noris Price, Superintendent for Baldwin County Schools, who spoke to the relationship between CCM and Milledgeville’s school district, and the opportunities City Music provides to students for college preparation. We were then introduced to Kathy Carroll at nearby Baldwin High School, who was proud to speak about some of the students who have attended the Berklee 5-Week Summer Performance Program as well as Berklee College and her experiences directing the chorus at Baldwin High School. We were also treated to some brief but beautiful singing by a few of the students in her class.

A short drive away to downtown Milledgeville took us to Georgia College, where we met Dr. Chelsey Mercado, Chair of the Music Therapy. Students from Dr. Mercado’s department teach CCM students on-campus, working with them to develop both musical proficiency as well as academic and interpersonal skills to help them succeed in college and beyond. We met Dr. Lisa Griffin, Director for the School of Health and Human Performance, who not only also provides instructors to CCM but whose annual Art Healthy event invites CCM students to perform as well as participate in an active community event. Dr. Griffin mentioned that she is proud to attend every CCM event!

We toured the audiovisual and recording facilities at Georgia College, which CCM students access as part of their experience. After a debrief that included CCM board chair Cassandra Ford, Esq., it was clear that CCM is all about collaboration as a means to bring music education and its corresponding personal development to as wide an audience as possible.

Four sites, one week and about seven-hundred miles on our rental car’s odometer after we started this trip, we flew back to Boston with ample information and even more inspiration. The southeast region is diverse in programming and demographics but unified in its commitment to students. This trip was a welcome opportunity to meet the people who make our work possible, and we returned to our office galvanized by their accomplishments.

BCMN On the Road: Woodlawn

This is post #3 in the guest series by BCMN Registrar Andrew Sammut after his visit to 4 BCMN sites this spring.

Woodlawn + Audiostate 55

Arin and Andrew’s third stop on their southeastern trip took them to Woodlawn Musical Arts, Entertainment and Industry Program of Birmingham, AL. Conducted by state-of-the-art local recording studio Audiostate 55, Woodlawn provides a music technology course to students from local schools, a summer music camp that serves over two hundred students and opportunities to perform at local community events.

Audiostate 55
Audiostate 55

When we arrived, Dr. Henry Panion, President at Audiostate 55, explained some of the projects he is working on with students at the local public schools including music videos to celebrate several local and national events. We then had an opportunity to observe one of the music technology courses that Woodlawn provides as an elective for students at a nearby high school. These students use PULSE in conjunction with other software to learn the basics of sound production and recording technology. We also got to meet members of the school faculty as well as the recording and business staff at Audiostate 55.

Audiostate 55
Audiostate 55 Music Technology

Dr. Panion then gave us a tour of the Birmingham community, including the impressive musical facilities at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where Dr. Panion teaches as both University Professor of Music and Co-Director of Music Technology. We also visited the Woodlawn Foundation offices, which engages and enriches the Birmingham community through the Woodlawn music program as well partnerships providing academic tutoring, mixed income housing, locally sourced produce and other efforts at “holistic neighborhood revitalization.”

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The support of these teachers, philanthropic partners, engineers and administrators allows Woodlawn Musical Arts, Entertainment and Industry Program to provide greater opportunities, musically as well as academically, to students in the Birmingham community. With its deep roots in the community and roads to Berklee College and beyond, City Music is proud to partner with this grassroots, globally minded organization.