Gift for a Gift: Talented Winthrop Guitarist/Vocalist Wins Full Scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston

Thursday, September 1, 2011
By Seth Daniel

Berklee President Roger H. Brown; Berklee City Music College Scholarship recipient Jennifer Aldana; and Lynette Gittens, direc¬tor for operations and enrollment for Berklee City Music, at a recent ceremony celebrating the scholarship recipients.

When it comes to playing the guitar and singing, there’s no doubt that Winthrop’s Jennifer Aldana has a gift.

But it’s the Berklee School of Music in Boston that has given a gift to help her gift..

Aldana – a Winthrop resident who graduated from Revere High School – was one of 16 students nationwide to win a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the esteemed music school during a recent ceremony in Boston.

There were 10 students from the Boston area that won, and six from other parts of the country. All of the students had completed the rigorous five week Berklee Summer Performance Program.

Aldana also was an attendee of the school’s Berklee City Music High School Academy.

And her newfound college financing plan wasn’t an easy score.

Aldana had to be formally accepted to the college.

She had to complete the five-week summer program, submit a creative artist portfolio, write a compelling 250-word essay and qualify for financial need.

Students also had to audition and interview with a panel of judges comprised of several Berklee faculty and staff members.

“One of the initiatives of Berklee City Music is to provide our students the opportunity to go to college. We are honored to help these incredibly gifted students achieve their goals by offering these scholarships,” said J. Curtis Warner Jr., executive director of Berklee City Music.

Berklee City Music is a nonprofit program that provides music education to 4th through 12th graders in underserved communities. With year-round instruction, expert faculty, individualized mentoring, and a comprehensive curriculum, Berklee City Music combines resources, facilities, and available scholarships with an environment of attention and encouragement. Kids get the tools and support they need to flourish as students, musicians, and confident and well-rounded individuals ready to shape their world.

These music education goals are achieved using the Berklee PULSE music method, a collection of lessons and materials delivered online that support classroom instruction. PULSE focuses on musical styles that originate in American popular culture and emphasizes the study of instrumental technique, theoretical understanding, and an awareness of historical context.

City Music student performers were joined at the ceremony by guests Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum and Berklee alumnus, saxophonist, composer, and “The King of Nouveau Swing” Donald Harrison, Jr. Harrison serves as the Artistic Director at the Tipitinas Foundation in New Orleans, and Whalum is the President and CEO of the Soulsville Foundation which is home to the Stax Music Academy in Memphis, two of the 32 sites that make up the Berklee City Music Network.

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