AMERICAN IDOL winner Kris Allen will perform with the Berklee City Music All-Star Band May 2-4 on an east coast tour. The concert series, which is open to elementary and high school students, works to raise awareness of the importance and need for music education, particularly in urban areas where schools are reducing or eliminating music programs.
"Kris, Andy Davis and I, our host partners and the other 30+ City Music Network sites across the country are on a mission to not only highlight the importance and life-changing impact that a music education can have on today's urban youth, but also to assure they get access to that education," said J. Curtis Warner, Jr., Executive Director, Berklee City Music.
Allen will perform solo selections from his debut album and ensemble pieces with the All-Star Band to an audience of students who already benefit from or can benefit from the Berklee City Music program.
"To be associated with a leader in music education such as the Berklee City Music program is truly an honor. Music education is vital to any child's development and is a cause that I hold close to my heart. The opportunities that the Berklee program provides to kids are remarkable and inspiring," says Kris Allen.
Joining the ranks of legendary musician Quincy Jones and Phillip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire, Allen will serve as a Berklee City Music Network (BCMN) Ambassador to spread awareness of the program. As part of his role of Ambassador, Kris Allen will attend the Berklee City Music Completion Ceremony in Boston on May 1 and perform songs with the Berklee City Music All-Stars.
Allen has also partnered with Music Empowers Foundation (MEF) to provide the BCMN with a two-year $150,000 grant to fund research measuring the program's impact and its continued expansion and development. "It is very gratifying to partner with Kris in support of an innovative program like Berklee City Music," said Andy Davis, Founder of MEF. "Kris is an amazing advocate for music education and by doing these concerts we hope to raise awareness and attract funding for additional programs."
MEF and Kris Allen will also fund five scholarships for high school students in the BCMN to attend Berklee City Music's Five-Week Summer Program. Nearly $30,000 was raised for the scholarships by Allen's fans during a fundraiser called "Alright with Music," named after Allen's single "Alright With Me."
"A fundamental component to fulfilling our mission is in developing partnerships. We have worked with the Berklee City Music project since 2006 and they have played an integral role in developing the varied music opportunities we offer. As some of our students transition into being Berklee undergraduates we look forward to building deeper and longer lasting bonds," added Paul J. Thompson, Principal, Urban Assembly School of Music and Art.