Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Poster Signing Party

The Highway 61 Blues Festival Poster Signing will be held on Thursday, May 27 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Highway 61 Blues Museum located at 307 N. Broad Street in Leland. Artist Cristen Barnard designed this year’s poster that honors Johnny Winter. She will be on hand to sign and number posters that night. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Ryan Moore of Cicero’s Restaurant will be serving his delicious fried catfish and pork tenderloin. Ellen Ann Johnson will be serving her many delicious dishes as well. William McGee, Pat Thomas, Eddie Cusic and T-Model Ford will provide the entertainment. At 7:30 p.m. the party will move to Lillo’s Restaurant for dancing to the music of Lillo’s legendary Thursday night band and dining. To reserve a poster call the Highway 61 Blues Museum at 662-686-7646. For reservations at Lillo’s call 662-686-4401.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Two Mississippi Teen Musicians Awarded Full Scholarships for Summer Study at Boston’s Renowned Berklee College of Music

Boston – Paula Thompson, from Clarksdale, and Calvin Bogar, from Jackson, will spend five weeks this summer in Boston, studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music on full scholarships valued at $7,500 apiece.  They’ll join teens from all over the world for Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program.

The scholarships were awarded from the Berklee Mississippi Music Exchange program that develops opportunities to exchange education, music and culture between Berklee and the Mississippi Delta and other parts of the state.  This is the third year that Berklee has awarded summer scholarships to students in Mississippi who take part in programs at the Delta Blues Museum, in Clarksdale, and the Robert Johnson Blues Museum, in Crystal Springs.

From left: Berklee professor Lenny Stallworth, Paula Thompson, Delta Blues Museum Director Shelley Ritter, and Christopher Coleman, director of the Delta Blues Museum's gift shop.
Photo by Allen Bush.

Thompson is a student in the Delta Blues Museum's Arts & Education Program.  She has been singing since the age of 3, and made her stage debut at 6 in a family group called Blues Prodigy.  In addition to singing, she also plays the drums and bass guitar.  For her audition, she sang "Hurts So Bad," by Susan Tedeschi.  Thompson told the scholarship committee, comprised of Berklee and Delta Blues Museum personnel, that when she grows up she'd like to be a singer.  On the same day that she auditioned for the scholarship, she also celebrated her 15th birthday.


From left: Calvin Bogan and Steven Johnson.
Photo by Allen Bush

Steven Johnson, grandson of the legendary Robert Johnson, scouted Bogar for the scholarship.  The 19 year old has been playing the saxophone for six years, and is currently studying music at Hinds Community College in Utica.  Among his musical experiences are playing in church and in jazz and contemporary music groups.  He would like to be music teacher.  Bogar and Johnson met the Berklee committee in the historic Baptist Town region of Greenwood at Sylvester Hoover's Country Kitchen, and he serenaded them in front of the noted eatery, drawing community members who snapped photos and wished him good-luck.  

To read more about each recipient and the Berklee Mississippi Music Exchange, visit berkee-blogs.com.

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 70 countries, a music industry "who's who" of alumni that have received 175 Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.  In 2013, Berklee will open its first campus outside of Boston, Berklee Valencia, in Spain.