Happy Holidays From All of Us at Berklee City Music

From all of us a Berklee City Music, we wish you and your families a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Dean’s Set List: Emilio Mendez, Erica Parra, and Gabriel Rivera

This month’s Dean’s Set List video takes us to Puerto Rico and Harlem featuring Latin music performed by Erica Parra from the Boys & Girls Harbor, and Emilio Mendez and Gabriel Rivera from de Escuela De Bellas Artes De Carolina.

All three students were City Music Summer Scholars this past summer when the episode was recorded.  Erica Parra was senior in high school and received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music from Berklee City Music, and Emilio, a junior in high school, received a $14,000 scholarship from Berklee College of Music.

These three young talented musicians had never rehearsed together before, and made up everything on the spot.  We hope you enjoy.

To learn more about the Dean’s Set List please visit our previous post.

Giving Tuesday: The “UNselfie”

Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, a day that started two years ago in an effort to give back to our community and organizations that are helping to make a difference.  In contrast to this idea is the 2013 word of the year, “selfie,” a craze that has taken over the internet with many people posting photos of themselves.

Berklee City Music Board Member, Jeff Walker, suggests in his Huffington Post Blog Post that we turn it around and make it the “UNselfie” and show our support of those who are doing good by taking “pictures could be of people doing good things, of acts of kindness, of compassion in action! Being UNselfish!”  To help start the trend here is a collection of Instagram pictures from around the Berklee City Music Network and our supporters showing the “UNselfies” of those giving back.

Jeff Walker, author of The Generosity Network and Berklee City Music Board Member engaging members of the Berklee City Music Network at the 2013 Berklee City Music Network Conference about board development.

Boston Celtics power forward Brandon Bass, participating in a master class with Berklee City Music Boston students.

Berklee Alumni, performing artist, and Artistic Director of the Internship Program at our Network site Tipitina’s Foundation in New Orleans, Donald Harrison, teaching a master class with Berklee City Music Boston students.

Network member A Place Called Home‘s Executive Director, Jonathan Zeichner, and staff providing Thanksgiving Dinner to the South Central Los Angeles community.

The Shoe Crew providing 804 pairs of shoes to children at A Place Called Home.

The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation presenting Berklee City Music with a donation at half-time. 

Berklee City Music providing full-college scholarships to students from across the Berklee City Music Network at the Scholarship concert this August.

You can support these organization and members of the Berklee City Music Network by visiting their websites (click here for a list of Network members).  Berklee City Music sends a big Thank You to all those mentioned above, our Network members, and supporters for their continued efforts to Making Dreams Possible One Note at a Time.

Clinton Cerejo Performing Tonight at Berklee

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GET YOUR TICKETS!  Click here.

Press Release – Liz Lupton (Berklee College of Music)

Clinton Cerejo, a versatile multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger, composer, and producer of more than 2,000 commercial jingles, who has been rocketing to stardom in India will bring his talents to Berklee as an artist-in-residence. His latest work is featured in Google India’s viral Google Search: Reunion advertisement, trending virally with its story of a reunion between Pakistani and Indian long-lost friends. Highly sought in the booming Indian advertising and film industry for his signature Western-meets-Indian sound, Cerejo’s residency will culminate in Shuruaat – Clinton Cerejo Meets Berklee, a collaborative performance with the college’s Indian Ensemble on November 26, at 8:15 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center.

Shuruaat – Clinton Cerejo Meets Berklee will feature Quwali and Indian classical, rock, and jazz music from Cerejo’s expansive catalogue as well as original compositions by Berklee students. Performing together and separately, Cerejo and the Berklee Indian Ensemble—with musicians from 34-plus countries directed by Indian Berklee alumnus and faculty member Annette Philip ’09—will presentShuruaat (meaning “beginning”) in entirely Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, and Tamil. Though the program serves as the culmination of Cerejo’s four-day residency, he and the Indian Ensemble rehearsed via Skype before his arrival in Boston.

As an artist-in-resident, Cerejo will conduct workshops, master classes, and clinics with Berklee students as well as students from Berklee City Music, the college’s after-school music and college prep program for underserved 4th through 12th graders. During the clinics and master classes, Cerejo will focus specifically on the role that composers, singer-songwriters, and arrangers play in the music industry. He will also mentor student composers whose music will debut during the November 26 concert.

Cerejo is a multitalented singer, composer, and producer in Bollywood who has carved a niche for himself assuming different roles in the music industry with his talent and style of music. His musical style draws from rich Indian classical and folk traditions fusing it with Western pop, rock, and jazz to create a sound that is uniquely his own.

Cerejo is the voice behind several hit songs such as “Yaraam,” “Hey Ya!,” and “Kya Karoon,” as well as the composer for blockbuster films like KahaaniEk main aur Ek Tu, and Ek thi Dayaan. His hugely popular track “Madari,” composed for the MTV India series Coke Studio@MTV, soared in popularity reaching more than 1 million views on YouTube.

Having worked closely with maverick filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj, Cerejo is the music producer for the films Omkara, No Smoking, Kaminey, Ishqiya, Saat Khoon Maaf, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, and the not-yet-released Dedh Ishqiya. Beyond Bollywood, Cerejo is the first Indian to arrange the vocals for Michael Bolton on an album featuring such artists as Seal, Rascal Flatts, and Chris Botti, as well as vocal arrangements for the Oscar-nominated song “If I Rise’ from the film 127 Hoursdirected by Danny Boyle.

GET YOUR TICKETS!  Click here.

Introducing the Dean’s Set List Featuring Corinne Savage

We are pleased to announce a new YouTube series called the Dean’s Set List.  It features students from around the Berklee City Music Network performing in the office of our Dean, Dr. Krystal Banfield.  In order for a student to be selected they must fulfill certain criteria pertaining to their academic standing, Berklee City Music standing, involvement in their community, and musicianship.  It is a musical Dean’s List.

Our first video feature Corrine Savage from our Network site in Midland, PA, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center.  This past summer she was a City Music Summer Scholar attending the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program.  She was then awarded a full-tuition scholarship from Berklee City Music to attend Berklee College of Music and is currently a full-time student.  Stay tuned as we will release a new video each month featuring different students from around the Network.

Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina

Last week Clint and I traveled to Puerto Rico to visit Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina, a Berklee City Music Network member.  While there we met with the organization’s leadership, teachers, and students.  We attended classes, private lessons, and ensemble rehearsal and heard some great music.  Check back next week for a blog post on the concert we attended during our visit.  Below are pictures of a Berklee PULSE class and private lessons.

Below is a picture of the members of Berklee City Music and Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina.  From left to right: Angel Vigo, Music Director-Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina; Clint Valladares, Director of Operations and Outreach-Berklee City Music National; Yanira Santana, Dean-Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina; Louis Rodriguez Dominguez, Director-Escuela de Bellas Artes de Carolina; and Arin Canbolat, National Field Coordinator-Berklee City Music.

Berklee City Music in Billboard Magazine

The Berklee Encore Gala was featured in the November 9, 2013 issue of Billboard in the “Good Works” column.  The Berklee Encore Gala benefits Berklee City Music to provide year-round music education and scholarships to Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program and full-time study at the Berklee College of Music.

Berklee City Music graduate/current Saturday Night Live Band keyboardist Tuffus Zimbabwe; Berklee City Music dean Krystal Banfield; Berklee City Music executive director J. Curtis Warner; Berklee president Roger H. Brown; Bright Horizons chair/cofounder Linda Mason; songwriter, producer, music executive, and former Berklee professor Kara DioGuardi. Photo Credit Phil Farnsworth

To view Berklee’s press release please click here.

To view the article on Billboard please click here.


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.

“Walking in Memphis” – The 2013 BCMN Conference Playlist

Beale Street – Memphis, TN

We are getting more and more excited as the conference draws nearer, and we want to share our excitement with you through our 2013 BCMN Conference Playlist entitled “Walking in Memphis,” after the song by Marc Cohn (who is actually from Cleveland, OH).  Aside from Marc Cohn, the playlist features artists who are from the Memphis area, including just over the state lines into Mississippi and Arkansas, as well as Stax artists.

Be sure to follow the playlist as we will update it each Friday until the conference begins, and please comment below to tell us songs that you would like to be added to it.

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!