Berklee, Boston Foundation Reviving Live Music in Uphams Corner

By 
Allen Bush
July 2, 2013
Ron Savage

The Boston Foundation is partnering with the Berklee College of Music Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement to help revitalize arts and ethnic culture in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner. Among the activities produced by Berklee will be a concert of jazz and Caribbean music on Friday, July 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Strand Theater, located at 543 Columbia Road in Dorchester. The concert is free.

The concert, titled “Jazz Fest with a Taste of the Caribbean,” showcases three Berklee groups featuring students from all over the world, including students from Brazil, Canada, Korea, and the United States. The concert’s producer is renowned jazz drummer and Berklee Ensemble Department chair Ron Savage.

The concert will feature performances by: New Voices in Jazz 2, offering cutting-edge originals and well-known jazz standards, directed Savage; the Caribbean Jazz Fusion Ensemble, presenting a fusion of traditional and modern Caribbean rhythms mixed with jazz improvisation, directed by Berklee’s assistant chair of Ensembles, Sean Skeete; and the Music of the Dominican Republic Ensemble, which will play merengue and bachata music from Juan Luis Guerra, Milly Quezada, La India, Olga Tañón, and others, led by Berklee associate professor of Percussion Ricardo Monzon.

The concert is made possible thanks to funds from a $480,000 grant received by the Boston Foundation from ArtPlace. Along with other city and arts groups, Berklee’s Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement received portions of that grant from the Boston Foundation to produce cultural activities around the historic Strand Theater and the Uphams Corner MBTA commuter rail station.

More Berklee activities are planned for Uphams Corner. The Music Education Department will present KidsJam sessions, while the Music Therapy Department will work with patients in the dementia unit at Uphams Corner Elder Services. The Professional Music Department will dispatch students from the Jazz Revelation Records label to perform at other events.