Berklee Service Festival Uses Music to Engage Boston Neighborhoods

Liz Burg
March 14, 2011
Faculty member Prince Charles Alexander conducts a music production and engineering workshop through The Movement@Berklee.
Youth at the Hyde Square Task Force mix the first CD produced in their new Music Clubhouse with coaching from Berklee faculty member Prince Charles Alexander.
Berklee faculty member Ron Reid served as a visiting artist at Open Access to Music Education for Children (OAMEC). Reid helped OAMEC to prepare for their youth orchestra for a performance at Berklee's concert to benefit Haiti, A Time for Haiti, in 2010.
A member of OAMEC's youth orchestra gets ready to perform in Berklee's concert to benefit Haiti, A Time for Haiti, in 2010.
A member of OAMEC's youth orchestra gets ready to perform in Berklee's concert to benefit Haiti, A Time for Haiti, in 2010.
Photo Laurel Kilbourn
Photo Laurel Kilbourn
Photo Calin Peters
Photo Calin Peters
Photo Calin Peters

The Movement@Berklee, Berklee College of Music's student-led community service group, is devoting the third week of March to providing music education in neighborhoods where economic challenges often prohibit accessibility to such programs. The Lead the Change Festival begins March 22, when Berklee students, faculty, staff, and alumni volunteers—and special guests like Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton—will share music with the group's partner organizations in the Fenway, Jamaica Plain, and Dorchester in addition to an on-campus event geared toward young girls from Boston. A handful of outreach activities were designed by Berklee students who won $500 grants to produce their event.   

Led by student Shea Rose, a Mattapan resident and Braintree High School graduate, and coordinators Carla Martinez and Arti Gollapudi, The Movement@Berklee encourages and enables the Berklee community to collaborate with partner organizations to conduct a broad range of activities including youth mentorship, performance outreach, and musical instruction. Aiming to create the greatest access possible to music and to music education for a wide range of people and cultural groups, The Movement@Berklee connects Berklee volunteers to community outreach programs that are already making a difference, like the Music Clubhouse programs at the Hyde Square Task Force, Sociedad Latina, and Boys and Girls Clubs in Allston, Roxbury, and Dorchester.

"We want to infuse the idea of volunteering and giving back into the Berklee Community," said Rose. "Through Lead the Change Festival, we want Berklee to know that The Movement@Berklee is a vehicle that, through our resources and relationships with partner organizations, can help take an idea and turn it into a program that can have long-lasting positive effects on a community."

"During my first year at Berklee, I focused only on myself and on getting good grades," said Gollapudi. "I later realized that I can use my time to do more than the 'business' side of music. I work with a senior citizens' home, and the residents are so appreciative of a performance. Performing for them not only gives seniors a form of entertainment, but it's a great place to perform. It's a mutually beneficial situation."

Full schedule of Lead the Change Festival activities:

March 22, 5:00 p.m. - Music Clubhouse at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester

  • Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton and Grammy Award–winning Berklee alumnus Swiss Chris will conduct a clinic for 50 youth.
  • Backbone of the Band: The Rhythm Section will include a clinic practicum and jam session together and with other musicians from Berklee.
  • Backbone of the Band: The Rhythm Section is made possible in collaboration with the Music and Youth Initiative.

March 22 - Morville House

  • The Berklee Oldies Ensemble will perform for senior citizen residents at Morville House in the Fenway.

March 24, 5:00 p.m. - Hyde Square Task Force

  • Berklee faculty member Ernesto Diaz will conduct a Latin percussion clinic for youth at the Music Clubhouse program at the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain.
  • The highly interactive clinic will include a large group of young musicians playing with Diaz.
  • Diaz grew up in and currently resides in Jamaica Plain.
  • The clinic supplements the daily work of Berklee students who teach at Hyde Square through Berklee's Community Service Work Study Program.

March 25 - Boston Community Leadership Academy

  • Berklee student Alex Ullman was awarded a $500 grant from The Movement@Berklee to produce this event
  • Ullman, who regularly volunteers at the Boston Community Leadership Academy, arranged for a band composed of Berklee students, the Love Experiment, to perform and conduct a master class at the school
  • Ullman has been volunteering at the school since September 2010, where he helps nonnative English speakers prepare for standardized tests

March 26, 11:00 a.m. - Berklee College of Music

  • Berklee students Julia Easterlin and Taylor Gordon will host Girlz Beat.
  • Girlz Beat will bring 15 young girls from Boston to the Berklee campus for a three-hour workshop designed to encourage girls to become the next generation of music technology "hot-shots."
  • Easterlin and Gordon will conduct a clinic on music synthesis software and perform using the latest music technology equipment.

March 30, 6:30 p.m. - Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club

  • The newly renovated Music Clubhouse at the Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club will celebrate its grand reopening.
  • Directed by Berklee alumnus Rick Aggeler, the Music Clubhouse at the Blue Hill Boys and Girls Club hosts a team of Berklee students who serve as the program faculty members.