A Complete Score: East Boston Vocalist Earns a Full Scholarship to Berklee

An East Boston resident was one of 16 young musicians that will share a total of $2 million in full-tuition scholarships to support four years of study at the Berklee City Music program at Berklee College.

Denise Torres, a vocalist from East Boston is a graduate of East Boston High School and participated in the Berklee City Music High School Academy at Berklee College of Music.

Torres was presented with the scholarships at the annual Berklee City Music Scholarship Concert in the Berklee Performance Center. Torres and other City Music student performers were joined 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.

Torres and the other Berklee City Music students were required to meet rigorous scholarship eligibility including admittance to Berklee, completion of the Five-Week Summer Performance Program, submission of a creative artist portfolio, 250 word essay and financial aid qualification.

Additionally, Torres auditioned and interviewed with a panel of judges made up of a cross section of Berklee faculty and staff.

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

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 the breadth of Berklee 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.

Berklee College of Music, for over 65 years, has evolved to support its belief that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through contemporary music education.

The college was the first in the U.S. to teach jazz, the popular music of the time. It incorporated rock n’ roll in the 1960s, created the world’s first degree programs in film scoring, music synthesis, and songwriting, and, in recent years, added world music, hip-hop, electronica, and video game music to its curriculum. With a diverse student body representing over 80 countries, a music industry “who’s who” of alumni that have received 200 Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today.

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