Boston Pops 

Three Stax Music Academy students attend Berklee music camp.

One time, at band camp, 17-year-old Tasmine Ballentine auditioned for a singers' showcase. The Memphis native was one of five vocalists chosen out of hundreds.

Ballentine, along with fellow Stax Music Academy students Ashton Riker and Ricardo Canady, recently spent five weeks in Boston as part of Berklee College of Music's summer performance camp.

Each received a $4,000 scholarship for the camp from the Berklee City Music Network, a group that helps inner-city youth afford the program.

During the five-week camp, students attended private lessons and gave live performances. Each student was taught to master a particular style of music ranging from jazz to pop.

"This camp was geared more toward perfecting talents than performance, like the Stax camp I went to," Canady said. "In my first private lesson, I was assessed and critiqued on my jazz technique. From there, I was given musical pieces to practice."

Riker began singing songs by Al Green when he was 4 years old. Last year, he released his first album, "Lady Luck," on iTunes. A recent graduate of Ridgeway High School, he plans on taking a semester off to work on his second album and then attend Berklee on a full scholarship.

"Berklee is the Mecca of music schools. Thousands of musicians from around the world come here," he said. "It was definitely a learning experience."

Like Riker, Ballentine is a vocalist. "The most important thing I learned at Berklee was to always be alert, always work hard, and always put your best foot forward," she said.

The only instrumentalist from the group was Canady. He plays the alto saxophone and graduated from Central High School last year. He plans on attending the University of Memphis for one semester and then transferring to Berklee in the spring.

"People were competing for the same scholarships, but the competition didn't make people hateful to one another," Canady said. "Everybody was unique in their own way and learned from what others had to offer."

At the conclusion of camp, the three students played with 20 others in an ensemble led by assistant professor Winston Maccow. The ensemble played music by Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and Chaka Khan.

"The music was intense and so was Maccow. You couldn't make a mistake," Canady said. "But it wasn't like your typical band director who was down your throat. The musicians were dedicated. We knew we had to do our work."



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

    • ‘Devastating’ Development

      A new project leaves uncertain future for a Memphis institution.
    • Gun Fight

      Experts say FedEx lost its battle over NRA discounts.


Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies 101, Nuggets 94: Finally, a Win!

Intermission Impossible

"Drowsy Chaperone" hits, "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" hits walls

We Saw You

Spirit Fest, Butcher's Dinner

News Blog

Supreme Court Sets Two More Execution Dates

News Blog

$28M Raleigh Town Center to Break Ground

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Seven Days In Entebbe

Hungry Memphis

Feast on the Farm with David Krog


More by Erica Walters

  • House Warming

    Federal tax credit for homebuyers extended to April.
    • Jan 7, 2010
  • Earth Angel

    Local company creates an elaborate ride.
    • Dec 24, 2009
  • Corn on the Car

    Local woman distributes "kernels of truth" about genetically modified crops.
    • Dec 10, 2009
  • More »

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation