Two Clarksdale High Teens Awarded Summer Scholarships
Clarksdale High School students Viendra Dawson and Kylen Thomas will spend the summer at Berklee on full scholarships. They’ll join 1,000 instrumentalists and vocalists from all over the world studying and performing contemporary music at Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program.
Dawson, 19, is a vocalist who has performed around Clarksdale for 11 years and is currently a member of the group Kay Vee. Thomas is 15 years old and has played the bass for three years. Dawson will sharpen her skills as a performer in pop and rock ensembles, while Thomas explores jazz music this summer at Berklee. The recipients accepted their awards on stage at Ground Zero Blues Club during a performance by the Berklee Mississippi Exchange Band, comprised of Berklee students and directed by professor Lenny Stallworth, a native of Moss Point, Mississippi, during the annual Juke Joint Festival.
The scholarships were awarded by the Berklee Mississippi Music Exchange, an initiative established in 2008 to bring the college closer to the birthplace of American popular music by providing educational and performance opportunities for both Berklee and Mississippi students. This is the sixth year that a group of Berklee faculty, staff, and students has traveled to Mississippi to conduct scholarship auditions in various locations. To date, 11 students from Mississippi, including seven from Clarksdale, have received summer scholarships through the initiative.