Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Month: March 2012 (Page 1 of 9)

A Place Called Home Teenagers “Scare” Macy Gray in L.A.

Teenagers from A Place Called Home (APCH), a Berklee City Music Network partner in South Central Los Angeles, recently joined Grammy Award-winning artist Macy Gray on stage at the Conan O’Brian show. They joined Gray to perform the song “Teenagers” off of her new album Covered.

APCH Music Director and Berklee alumna Charyn Harris worked with her colleague and APCH instructor Jeffrey Connor to make it all happen. Harris explained that, “A Place Called Home works with professional working musicians who are also instructors. We were fortunate to have Jeffrey Connor facilitate this great and inspiring opportunity for the kids to work with such an amazing artist”.

Also involved in the once in a lifetime opportunity was another Berklee alumnus, Zoux who is the musical director for the R&B soul singer-songwriter.

Check out images and video from Tuesday’s show:


Music Therapy in Athens, Greece

Four Berklee students just arrived back from Athens, Greece, where they spent spring break with two students from Lesley University, collectively doing music therapy service work in various hospitals and facilities around the city of Athens. The group was in Greece from March 16 through March 25, and visited five different sites, where they presented to staff with aims of educating professionals about what music therapy is and why it should be integrated into treatment programs.

The first day was spent at Sinouri Psychiatric Facility, located outside of Athens in Kifissia. The team of six split into smaller teams of two, and each twosome lead a morning group and an afternoon group session with approximately five adult psychiatric inpatients. The students worked together as facilitators and used music to try to achieve nonmusical goals, such as communication, socialization, reality orientation, and development of coping skills. In the evening, the team went to Tender Age Preschool, were a large group session was co-lead by all six students. Activities in this setting were geared towards basic educational goals (counting, colors, etc), sharing, turn taking and waiting, and expression and empowerment.

Tuesday and Thursday were at Onaseio Cardiac Hospital, where the team worked with adult patients who were pre or post surgery, had assistive devices, and nonresponsive and/or comatose patients.  Wednesday morning we spent at the Onaseio on their pediatric unit, and Wednesday afternoon we went to Mitera Pediatric Hospital and visited the NICU, where we saw 25+ infants.

On our final day, Friday, we went to a private eating disorders clinic and conducted a group session with adult female outpatients. We did songwriting and lyric adaption exercises, aimed at providing long-term coping skills as well a means of expression and self-actualization.

The week concluded with a presentation of our experiences at Nakas Conservatory, and was attended by friends and family in addition to musicians, medical professionals, Nakas teacher and staff, and conservatory students.

We view the trip as a huge success, as we completed our goals of providing direct music therapy services to in-need clients and also of educating and familiarizing medical professionals of the benefits of using music therapy.

For more detailed reviews of each day, go to


Music Where It Counts: Update from Cape Town

Guguletu Clinics 2012 CTIJF

Jim Odgren works with talented young musicians from Guguletu as part of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

When the 6-year old trumpeter walked up on stage with this fellow band mates, we thought is was pretty cool.  When he played the melody along with the band, we smiled with surprise.  When he took chorus after chorus on a traditional South African tune our minds reeled at the potential.

How was it possible that this young boy, growing up in a place that affords so little in opportunity has been able to accomplish all that he has in so short a time?

This was the scene we encountered as we began our clinics for the Training and Development Program component of the 2012 Cape Town International Jazz Festival in the township of Guguletu.  In a packed-to-capacity community center hall, Jim led a two-hour session that feature a number of groups from the township.  We jammed with the students.  They taught us a few of their tunes, and we shared some of what we know.  Walking out of the building, we were left speechless.  My guess is that he was thinking what I was thinking.  You cannot stop the music.  It will always find a way.

Through my work in the Office of International Programs, I am given many opportunities to be out on the road for the college.  We take the very best of the college with us to share what Berklee does and we seek to learn from our experiences — bringing that experience back to Boston.  We visit colleges, universities, technical institutes and festivals.  We hold a variety of events covering a range of musical topics.  We do this to make the personal and musical connection.  At the end of the day, an experience like the one we had in Guguletu is where it is at.  It is where the music counts.

Florenza Campos: It’s All Coming Together

Berklee Blogs checks in with Florenza Campos, Brazilian-born singer-songwriter, Professional Music major and freshly minted intern at Universal Music Latin. We’ll check in periodically with Florenza as she shares her lessons and insights from Miami as one of the Office of Experiential Learning’s veteran interns

When I got back from my spring break in beautiful Toronto, I had a lot of jobs as the pick-up and delivery girl. Tickets and packages had me running back and forth like crazy from the office in the 80-degree humid Miami weather. I had at least two every day, so it was pretty hectic. At least I got a good workout, right?

Although I did not get to go to the Ultra Festival in Miami, I did attend a Winter Music Conference panel, and was later invited to go VIP to the International Dance Music Awards. It was truly an amazing experience to watch some of my favorite dance music artists perform and present awards so close to me. I was introduced professionally to everybody as an “A&R at Universal”, not an intern. That statement made me feel so assured that I might just have the best internship ever. Later that night, I celebrated with my boss at our famous karaoke spot once again. He’s got a pretty great voice as well!

Read More

The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra

The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra is no ordinary college orchestra. The orchestra is composed of students from Spain, South Africa, England, Nicaragua, the Philippines, just to name a few. Some students are straight out of high school, some have already completed a degree in music and are coming to Berklee to study in a unique major such as film scoring, and some have transferred here from all over the world from other colleges. Not only are we diverse in our cultural backgrounds but in our musical backgrounds as well. Many students are accomplished classical musicians but are equally as talented in Jazz, Latin, Celtic and many other genres. Along with the performance majors, many students in the orchestra are pursuing degrees such as Music Business, Music Production and Engineering, Music Therapy and Composition. We come together to create a diverse group of musicians who just love to make music together!

The orchestra environment is filled with passion, excitement and fun. The orchestra is simply full of people who love to make music together, completely devoid of braggarts. We have an incredible conductor, Franscico Noya, who is a world-renowned conductor and is also the current conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. His congenial and hilarious personality combined with his incredible expertise in music helps to make the orchestra produce incredible music.

Our spring 2012 concert is right around the corner. It will be held on Tuesday April 3rd at 8pm at Jordan Hall. We have an exciting and diverse program. First, we will be performing the world premier of “Fantasy on a River Theme” which was composed by the great bass player John Patitucci. It will also feature John Patitucci himself as the bass soloist on his piece. We are very excited that he is coming to play with us and that he will premiere this piece with Berklee! We will also be celebrating John Williams’s 80th birthday by playing movements from two of his most famous film scores; Star Wars and Schindlers List. Another exciting piece of repertoire that we will be playing, is the original piece written by the very talented Berklee faculty member Jonathan Holland entitled “Halcyon Sun”. We will also be premiering the piece “8 de Febrero”. This piece is composed by the winner of Berklee’s Composition Contest, Vicente Ortiz Gimeno, an extremely talented clarinet player and composer. Here at Berklee we do play some of the standard classical repertoire, believe it or not! We are playing Schubert’s beautiful Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished”. Last but not least, we are playing the first ever live performance of Aubrey Hodges’ Madden NFL theme from the video game!

We have a diverse and wonderful program for next Tuesday! Please try to come out to see my amazing peers play their hearts out at Jordan Hall on April 3rd at 8pm!

Page 1 of 9

Copyright © 2018 Berklee College of Music