2014 BCMN Conference Highlights

City Music Network Students performing at Youth Power-Up Day
City Music Network Students performing at Youth Power-Up Day in Los Angeles, California. Photo credit: Amy Bojanowski

Over 200 Network members, music educators, and arts advocates came together in Los Angeles to discuss “Innovations in Youth Development,” the theme of this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference.

The conference kicked off on November 2 with “Youth Power-Up Day,” a free outdoor festival at Grand Performances, that featured performances by youth ensembles from around the country, a community drum circle hosted by Remo, and a jam session led by Kevin Eubanks.

Attendees moved indoors to the nearby Omni Hotel for the next three days full of inspiring presentations, panel discussions, and interactive activities. BCMN Conference veteran Libby Chiu started each day with a networking workshop that featured special guests such as Jonathan Zeichner (APCH), Andy Davis, and youth ambassadors from A Place Called Home.

Two of the more popular sessions were a panel discussion led by Berklee faculty member Terri Lyne Carrington with Sheila E, Patrice Rushen, Lalah Hathaway, and Donald Harrison about working with young musicians
; and Ron Weisner’s all-star panel discussion about the music industry featuring Bill Withers, Gladys Knight, Bobby Colomby, Tommy LiPuma, Ray Chew, and Ricky Minor.

The conference also featured a master class at the Grammy Museum; presentation by Network members such as Mike Anderson, Joey Arreguin, Gordon Cobb, Kevan Ellis, Greg Holt, Thomas Howard, Mark Kohler, Bethany Paulsen, Milton Ruffin, Ed Sublett, Frank Van Bree, and Cliff Weeks; plus a visit by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

With so many thought-provoking sessions, attendees left Los Angeles feeling inspired to further their work with young musicians.


Bill Withers Just Added to the BCMN Conference

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Bill Withers will join Ron Weisner on his panel on Tuesday, November 4 titled “The Challenges of Change: Remaining Fresh, Being Creative, Developing for Tomorrow’s Industries” with other guests Tommy LiPuma, Bobbie Colomby, and Ray Chew.

Withers, originally from West Virginia, recorded a number of hits including “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Use Me,” “Just the Two of Us,” and “Lovely Day.”  In 1967 he relocated to Los Angeles and financed his own demos, which led him to Sussex Records with Clarence Avant who got Booker T. Jones to produced Withers’ first album Just As I Am, which featured “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  At the 14th Annual Grammy Awards in 1972 he won the Grammy for Best R&B Song for “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  Prior to winning the Grammy the song had previously sold over a million copies and went platinum.  In 1980 he released “Just the Two of Us” with saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr., which later went on to win a Grammy.

In 2005 Withers was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2006 received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award presented to ASCAP members who have had a major impact on the legacy of Rhythm and Soul music.

Don’t miss out on this great event and the opportunity to interact with Bill Withers and others at the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Los Angeles November 2-5.

Click Here to Register

Click Here to Register

25 FREE Registrations for Students to Attend the BCMN Conference

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We are offering FREE registration to the first 25 undergraduate and graduate college students who register to attend the Berklee City Music Network Conference in Los Angeles, CA from November 2-5.

After the first 25 FREE registrations are given it is ONLY $25 per day for undergraduate and graduate students.

Make sure you use your “.edu” email address to receive the discount.

Don’t miss out on this great event featuring music industry experts, nonprofit leaders, accomplished music educators, and Grammy-Award Winning artists.


Apply to the Jam Sessions led by Kevin Eubanks

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At Youth Power-Up Day on Sunday, November 2, part of the Berklee City Music Network Conference, there will be a jam session with Kevin Eubanks, the former leader of The Tonight Show Band.  The jam session is open to current high school students, and in order to participate you must APPLY.  The application will take no longer than 5 minutes.

Join us at Youth Power-Up Day for a free outdoor community festival to learn tips on entering the music industry, preparing for college training, and engaging with others in playing an instrument — beginner or advanced. Youth and their families are especially encouraged to attend. Free and open to the public, in downtown Los Angeles! Presented by Berklee City Music and A Place Called Home, in cooperation with Grand Performances, as part of the 2014 Berklee City Music Network Conference.

For those students who would like to participate in the jam session please CLICK HERE to complete the application.

DEADLINE APPROACHING-2014 Conference Master Class Application

Calling all Full Member sites of the Berklee City Music Network, the deadline to submit to perform at the 2014 Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class is by  11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time on July 1, 2014

Click this link for application rules and guidelines.

Application Requirements

  • Must be an official full member of the Berklee City Music Network
  • Ensemble cannot exceed 8 student-performers or 7 student-performers and 1 ensemble director should the ensemble director perform with the group
  • All students must be in high school as of November 2014 and current members of your organization
  • Submit 2 songs via video that are live, unedited performances from the 2013-2014 academic year or summer of 2014
  • Repertoire for both the audition and master class must take into account the theme of the conference, American Popular Music
  • The 2 songs must total no more than 10 minutes in length

Application Information Required

  • Videos must be submitted via YouTube, Vimeo, or other online video streaming service
  • Submit song title and writer/arranger name(s)
  • Submit student names, age, and instrument who are in the ensemble
  • Submit student grade level for the 2014-2015 academic year
  • Submit site director’s name and ensemble director’s name
  • Submit organization’s name

Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class – Stax Music Academy

Stax Music Academy was the last band to perform at the 2013 Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class.  The band was led by Paul McKinney, Instrumental Director; Terrilyn Douglas, Vocal Coordinator; and Justing Merrick, Artistic Director.  The band featured Craylon Davis, Ronesha Davis, Tia Henderson, April Horner, Kyler Gilkie, and Johnathan Lee on vocals; Tahj Mason and Josiah Taylor on alto sax; Anthony Moore on baritone sax; Dallas Dodson and Kordae Maples on guitar; Lijulianna Thomas and Joshua Huggins on keys; David McKinzie and Solomon Smith on bass; and David Pruitt and Marrick Flowers on drums.

Check out the other master class performances featuring Tipitina’s Foundation’sLincoln Park Performing Arts Center’sBerklee City Music Boston’s, and the Philadelphia Clef Club.

If you are interested in performing at this year’s Conference Master Class in Los Angeles please click here for more information and to apply.

Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class – Philadelphia Clef Club

The fourth Master Class to perform at The Berklee City Music Network 2013 Conference was the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. The band was directed by Lovett Hines with Will Wright on the piano and featured Immanuel Wilkins on alto sax, Yesseh Furaha-Ali on tenor sax, Antonio Robinson on bass and Cameron Cephas on drums.

Check out Tipitina’s Foundation’s Master Class Performance,

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center’s Master Class Performance

and Berklee City Music Boston’s Master Class Performance.

Coming up next: the release of a new video from the Conference Master Class, and if you are interested in performing at this year’s Conference Master Class in Los Angeles please click here to view the application.

Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class – Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center

Here is the second band that performed at last year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class in Memphis, TN. Check out this video of students from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center featuring Amber Liggett and Madison Owings on vocals, Jennifer Frantz on viola, Curtis Sirkoch, on tenor sax, Elijah Davis on bass, Christian Smith, on drums and Eric DeFade, the Band Director on the piano.

Check out  Tipitina’s Foundation’s Master Class Performance!

Stay tuned next week for the release of a new video from the Conference Master Class, and if you are interested in performing at this year’s Conference Master Class in Los Angeles please click here to apply.

Berklee City Music Network Conference Master Class – Tipitina’s Foundation

At last year’s conference five bands from around the Berklee City Music Network performed and were critiqued by guest clinicians Kirk Whalum and Shoshana Bean.  Check out  this video of students from the Tipitina’s Foundation Intern Program featuring  John Michael Bradford, trumpet; Elise Gonzalez on electric, bass; Thomas Glass, drums; and Donald Harrison, piano.  Donald Harrison is the Artistic Director of the Intern Program.

Stay tuned next week for the release of a new video from the Conference Master Class, and if you are interested in performing at this year’s Conference Master Class in Los Angeles please click here to apply.


2014 BCMN Conference Updates From the Executive Director, Planning the Vision

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Berklee City Music‘s Executive Director, J. Curtis Warner, Jr., takes time to recap his visit to LA.  He’ll be chronicling the planning process for this year’s upcoming Berklee City Music Network Conference.

Planning Phase: The Concept 

In January, I visited Los Angeles to lay the groundwork for our upcoming Berklee City Music Network Conference, which will take place on November 2-5, 2014. While there I hosted a couple of gatherings as well as spent time at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California.

A highlight of the NAMM show was receiving a citation of contribution from the mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tate. During the show, I also happened to meet Arnold Garcia, CEO of Shine on Hollywood. Through our conversation, he became interested in City Music and my work specifically, and after doing research on our organization, his editor contacted me and asked if they could do a feature article. I expect the article will appear in the February edition of Shine on Hollywood. The magazine often features stories on celebrities who are giving back. They actually have a program that encourages celebrities from the music industry to go into the public schools and spend an hour a week. I’m hoping that this relationship will prove beneficial, and might even connect us to some of the industry people we would like support from.

On Monday, January 20th, I connected over sushi with my good friend, Paul Guilfoyle (CSI’s Captain Jim Brass) and later, hosted a dinner with some other entertainment industry professionals. In attendance were Tanya Hart, Hollywood film director Eric Meza, Philip Hart from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, recording artist and star of “Wicked”, Shoshana Bean, actor Kiki Haynes from OWN TV’s “For Better or Worse” and myself. On Tuesday the 28th, I hosted another dinner with West Coast City Music Network member representatives, Peter Gordon from our Berklee in L.A. office, and Krystal Banfield, Dean of Berklee City Music. I want to give a shout out to Peter Gordon for pulling together the second gathering.

With both groups I posed two questions:

How can we make the most impact on Los Angeles while holding our conference there?

What would be a missed opportunity if we came to Los Angeles, held our conference, and left without including this one particular aspect of being in Los Angeles?

Curtis is still in talks with several folks to shape the concept and vision for the conference.  Lots of great things are coming together.  Stay tuned for more!