Erin Daneele
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Erin Daneele

Band R&B Singer/Songwriter


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"City Music Takes Its Show on the Road"

When Berklee announced plans to expand City Music—the college's groundbreaking, free music-education program for underserved, inner-city Boston youth—on a national scale, Erin Daneele Lyder was more than happy to help get the word out. "City Music pushed me to become a better singer, arranger, and writer—to take my music to the next level," said Lyder, a vocalist from Dorchester, Massachusetts, who now attends Berklee on full scholarship. "I'm excited to help bring this opportunity to students throughout the U.S."

As a member of the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble, composed of a few of the most gifted young musicians to emerge from the program, Lyder embarked on a West Coast promotional tour in January that included gigs at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and the NAMM music products trade show in Anaheim, California. The two-week tour began immediately after the official announcement on January 2.
The Berklee City Music Network will hit the national circuit in March 2007 at youth organizations in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, and at the Experience Music Project, an interactive museum in Seattle. The network will launch programs using the PULSE teaching methodology at these sites, which will be provided with specially trained alumni teachers and access to an extensive online network of learning resources and community-building tools.

Through the PULSE methodology, students will learn music theory, ear training, and performance by playing and analyzing the music of their day: Gnarls Barkley, Beyoncé, Green Day, and a library of other popular r&b, rock, hip-hop, and jazz songs.

A key component of the network is enhancing classroom experience with webcasting and videoconferencing technologies to provide face-to-face interaction between City Music Network students at partner sites and faculty and students at Berklee's Boston campus.

The college plans to expand the City Music Network to 50 sites in three to five years, followed by continuing rapid growth. The network's expansion is being led by the project's codirectors Curtis Warner, executive director of Berklee City Music/assistant vice president, external affairs; and David Mash, vice president of information technology.

Lyder's tour began in San Francisco. Macworld attendees buzzing from Apple's major iPhone announcement filtered out from Steve Jobs's keynote address and were met with a dazzling performance by the All-Stars. The band's set included Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable," "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire, and "You Don't Know My Name" by Alicia Keys.

The next destination for Lyder was an unseasonably cold and snowy Seattle at the Experience Music Project. Performing in the celestial, 85-foot high Sky Church in front of the world's largest indoor video screen, the band received a standing ovation from a packed house of 200-plus people, who were clearly eager to welcome contemporary music instruction to their city. The next day, the ensemble toured the EMP, exploring the museum's famous Sound Lab, Guitar Gallery, and Jimi Hendrix exhibitions. "The highlight for me was seeing Michael Jackson's white glove," said Lyder.

The tour wrapped up at the NAMM show, the largest trade show of its kind in the world, which this year brought in a record-breaking 84,695 people. The student group, too, drew its biggest crowd of the tour at NAMM, performing at the Hilton lobby shortly after the first day of the trade show ended. "Now I know why people call NAMM the musician's heaven," said student vocalist Apollo Payton, who along with the other All-Stars spent the next few days networking and wandering the tradeshow.

With the tour behind him, Payton, who, like Lyder, received a full scholarship to Berklee after completing City Music, emphasized the importance of a serious music education. "Music is a language—a skill that will last throughout your whole life," said Payton.

- By Nick Balkin

"All-Star Inauguration"

One of Berklee's strongest ensembles helps celebrate the arrival of Massachusetts's first African American governor.

January 31, 2007

Berklee's City Music All-Stars perform for guests at Governor Deval Patrick's inauguration.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

The buzz was electric and people were ecstatic dressed in their best party clothes on the first Thursday evening of 2007. Old and young representing every neighborhood in Boston were united on January 4 in one of the city's largest rooms, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, to celebrate the inauguration of the new governor of Massachusetts, Deval L. Patrick, and his lieutenant governor, Timothy P. Murray.

Music had as much to do with the atmosphere that night as did the thrill of victory from the election of the state's first African-American governor and first democratic leader since 1991. Berklee students, faculty, and alumni were among those invited to play and they arrived with plenty of jazz, funk, blues, Latin, and r&b tunes to help entertain more than 10,000 guests who partied over three floors.

Billed as the "Mambo King," Eguie Castrillo, associate professor of percussion, and his group performed high-energy Latin music late in the evening for people who stayed to dance rather than leave the party. Assistant professor of guitar Thaddeus Hogarth played two sets of blues, funk, and original music with his group. Alumni saxophone player Andre Ward performed his smooth jazz seasoned with gospel and r&b tones.

One couldn't miss Bruce Bartlett, associate professor of guitar, on a raised platform in the third floor atrium, just outside the grand ballroom. Anyone who arrived on the third floor heard the funk and jazz of Bartlett's group, which played the longest set of the evening, lasting more than four hours.

Behind Bartlett, the grand ballroom accommodated 4,000 people. As the crowd waited for the eventual arrival of Patrick, who would end his long day there, the room filled to standing-room-only capacity.

Those who got the good seats early were treated to a dynamic performance from the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble—a group composed of students from Greater Boston's urban neighborhoods who study at the college on scholarship under the Berklee City Music program. Director Winston Maccow, an assistant professor in the ensemble department, used the gig as a warm-up for the group's three-city tour of the West Coast that began a few days after the inauguration.

Performing a set of Latin jazz, r&b, and soul music—including Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" that brought people streaming onto the dance floor—were vocalists Ashley Rodriguez, Erin Daneele Lyder, Shakyma Horacius, and Apollo Payton; guitarist Patrick Faherty; Abraham Olivo on keys; Anant Pradhan on saxophone; bassist Anthony Nembhard; drummer Sheldon Thwaites; and percussionist Alfonso Malave, Jr.

Later in the evening, Walter Beasley took the stage in front of old fans and many others who became new followers. The saxophonist and vocalist is a professor in Berklee's ensemble department and a well-known performer across the U.S. with a new CD, Ready for Love. The ballroom was packed for his contemporary jazz and he lifted the crowd higher for Patrick and Murray's eventual appearance.

- Allen Bush


Still working on that hot first release.



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