Eleven Full-Tuition Scholarships Awarded at City Music Blowout

Margot Edwards
August 13, 2009
Press release
Roger H. Brown, Lynette Gittens, Krystal Banfield, Nathaniel Coe III, Carrington Brown, Mark Ward, Jalysa Riley, Benjamin Allen, Ashton Riker, Linton Smith, Aaron Liao, Christopher Juris, Keithen Foster, Adriel Ferguson, J. Curtis Warner
Boston mayor Thomas P. Menino speaks at the City Music Blowout Concert.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Eleven young musicians from urban Boston neighborhoods and City Music Network partner sites around the country accepted full-tuition scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music starting this fall at an emotional presentation at the Berklee Performance Center August 11. The Berklee City Music Continuing Scholarships were handed out by Berklee president Roger H. Brown; J. Curtis Warner, associate vice president for education outreach/executive director of Berklee City Music; Krystal Banfield, director of City Music Boston; and Lynette Gittens, associate director of City Music. 

Boston mayor Thomas P. Menino was also on hand and gave remarks at the event. Said Menino, "It's one of those special nights in Boston. I get so excited about what Berklee does every day. . . . I have grandkids in the Boston public schools and I see how much music enriches their lives."

The students have all been participants in Berklee City Music, a scholarship, tutorial, and mentoring program that gives teens from Greater Boston and other urban areas access to music education at no cost to them or their families. If all 11 students complete four years of study at the college, the collective amount of the scholarships awarded will be worth $1.3 million dollars. Individually, each scholarship is worth over $100,000.

The scholarships were awarded during the annual Berklee City Music Blowout Concert, where students performed rock, pop, jazz, inspirational, and r&b songs by artists including Maroon5, Adele, Christian McBride, Chick Corea, Beyonce, Chaka Khan and Rufus, and Michael Jackson. The 11 Continuing Scholarship recipients were among 72 young musicians ages 15 to 19 who were enrolled in Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program on City Music Summer Scholarships—the highest number to date.

City Music Boston Recipients of 2009 Berklee City Music Continuing Scholarships:

  • Adriel Ferguson, 18, drums, Roxbury, MA
  • Keithen Foster, 19, bass, Dorchester, MA
  • Mark Ward, 18, drums, Dorchester, MA
  • Christopher Juris, 18, guitar, Boston, MA
  • Jalysa Riley, 18, voice, Allston, MA

City Music Network Recipients of 2009 Berklee City Music Continuing Scholarships:

  • Aaron Liao, 18, bass, Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA
  • Ashton Riker, 18, voice and piano, Stax Music Academy, Memphis, TN
  • Linton Smith Jr., 17, trumpet, Tipitina's Foundation, New Orleans, LA
  • Benjamin Allen, 17, saxophone, Tipitina's Foundation, New Orleans, LA
  • Carrington Brown, 18, drums, eSharp Music Center at CPDC, Washington, DC
  • Nathaniel Coe III, 18, piano, Mount Airy Cultural Center, Philadelphia, PA

Under the direction of Krystal Banfield, Berklee City Music has provided educational and mentoring opportunities to more than 1,800 underserved teens from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, Lynn, and other urban areas since its inception in 1991. Three years ago, Berklee's City Music Network—launched in 2001—expanded to include partnerships with community organizations nationwide that actively share the goal of changing teenage lives with contemporary music education.