City Music Faculty Outreach Program Concert, May 21

Liz Burg
May 19, 2011
Students perform at the 2010 Berklee City Music Faculty Outreach Concert at the Berklee Performance Center.
Students perform at the 2010 Berklee City Music Faculty Outreach Concert at the Berklee Performance Center.
Photo Kelly Davidson
Photo Kelly Davidson

The Berklee City Music Faculty Outreach Program brings world class musical instruction to youth in Boston area schools, providing assistance and support to existing music programs since 2001. This program aids music teachers in building instrumental, vocal, and choral groups and ensembles, giving youngsters early access to college-level training and preparation. Today, Berklee invests $185,000 in the program, whose 18 teachers serve close to 600 youth in seven Boston public schools and in one charter school.

On Saturday, May 21, at 2:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, students from all eight partner schools will perform a wide selection of music, from jazz standards and blues to rock and pop, at the Faculty Outreach Concert. The public is invited to attend for free.

The partnership currently extends to the Boston Arts Academy, Roland Hayes School of Music, Sumner Elementary School, Ohrenberger School (K-8), Orchard Gardens K-8 School, Nativity Preparatory School, John W. McCormack Middle School, and William Blackstone Elementary School. The program is poised to expand to 12 schools in the next two years.

Through the initiative, students get private lessons, directed ensembles, and performance opportunities. Those who feel that music is their calling have found the motivation to stay in school. Parents also benefit from sessions with Berklee City Music staff to learn how to prep their teens for college. For some of these creative kids, they didn't imagine that college would be a choice for them until the outreach initiative.

One vocalist in her senior year at Roland Hayes School of Music has a very challenging home life, but she finds a positive outlet in music. According to her faculty outreach teacher, she's made outstanding progress and will perform with the Roland Hayes R&B Ensemble during Saturday's concert. Later this summer, she'll perform with the Boston Pops.

Another student, a saxophonist in his senior year at Boston Arts Academy, was shy, unfocused, and had trouble "finding his voice" when he first met his faculty outreach teacher in grade nine. Through the outreach programs, he became more focused and determined, positioning himself as a magnet in terms of dedication and inspiration to other students. He has been accepted to attend Berklee College of Music in the fall.