Berklee Investing in Canadian Musicians

By 
Nick Balkin
February 8, 2010
2009 Slaight Family Scholarship recipient Samantha Schultz.

Berklee is investing in young Canadian musicians with auditions for the prestigious Slaight Family Scholarship, established by Gary Slaight, and other scholarships for admission for four-year study in Boston. Canadian enrollment at Berklee has almost doubled since 2005 to 84 students, making it the third most represented country, behind Korea and Japan, among Berklee's international student population.

Auditions will take place in Toronto, February 15, at Decibel House, 14-244 Brockport Drive; in Hamilton, February 16, at Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology, 135 Fennell Ave. West; in Vancouver, March 5-6, at Lord Byng Secondary School, 3939 West 16th Avenue; and in Edmonton, March 8-9, at Grant MacEwan College, 10045 156 Street.

Slaight, president and CEO of Slaight Communications and an Edmonton native, created the scholarship for Canadian students who demonstrate outstanding musical merit and potential. With tuition, housing, fees, and the required laptop covered, this year's Slaight scholar will enter Berklee, the world's largest college of contemporary music, this September. Previous recipients include singer-songwriter Samantha Schultz, in 2009, and guitarist Lucian Gray, in 2008. Slaight, whose daughter Ali is a Berklee student with a successful music career in Canada, also serves on the college's board of trustees. 

Every student applying to Berklee is required to audition and interview live in Boston or at sites in North America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. The goal is to identify students who are the best fit for Berklee. These are applicants who demonstrate strong musical aptitude, are innovators and risk-takers. They are driven by their passion for music and their disciplined and focused approach to their craft. All students who audition and interview for Berklee are considered for scholarships.

Slaight is president and CEO of Slaight Communications Ltd., formerly Standard Radio Inc., which holds varied equity interest in Milestone Radio, Haliburton Broadcasting, MapleMusic, Puretracks, Travelwire, and Sirius Canada. Slaight created Canada's National Songwriting Contest and the Canadian Music Awards. He is an inductee to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, and on the board of directors of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, MapleMusic, and Astral Media. Slaight has received awards for his community service, and is a director emeritus of the Sick Children's Hospital Foundation. In March, at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, he will receive the Humanitarian Spirit Award for his longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives.