Scholarships Awarded To Tipitina's Foundation Interns

NEW ORLEANS – Five teens from Tipitina’s Foundation Internship Program have been awarded full Berklee City Music Summer Scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music's Five-Week Summer Performance Program in Boston July 11 – August 15.

         This year’s scholarship recipients are Robert Gray, Ariyan Brister, and Brandon Shelton from the New Orleans Internship Program; Christopher Coreil from the Baton Rouge Internship Program, and Nick Blanchard from the Lafayette Internship Program.

         During this Five-Week Program, these Tipitina’s Interns, along with other talented young musicians from across the country and around the world, will be immersed in all aspects of musical performance. Classes, workshops and ensembles will focus on the important side of musicianship. Each student will have the opportunity to play in a band, develop improvisational and reading skills, improve upon their instrumental craft in private lessons and participate in classes and demonstrations by well-known faculty and visiting artists. At the completion of Five-Week, students are eligible to receive scholarships to attend Berklee’s four-year program, along with college credit for coursework completed during the Five-Week program.

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         Tipitina’s Internship Program (TIP) is an immersive after-school program under the artistic direction of Berklee alumnus Donald Harrison, Jr. “The Tipitina's Intern Program is set up to help our music students,” Harrison said. “The range of what our students seek goes from casual participants to young people that are seeking to unlock their full music potential. I see my job as sharing all the life and musical experiences I attained from playing with countless master musicians. When our students are accepted by great institutions like Berklee and given scholarships it lets me know they are on their way.”

         These Interns study in the classroom with noted musicians Donald Harrison, Jr. in New Orleans; Chris Thomas King in Baton Rouge; and Chris French in Lafayette. These talented instructors have nurtured a number of young musicians who are now famed players. Harrison points out, “Our students range from Trombone Shorty to Jonathan Batiste who recently was chosen to helm the Late Show Orchestra. They, along with many of our students, have found placement in all types of areas in the music field. Some of our students move in other directions than music, but they have found other ways to use their training in music as a guide in other careers.” 

         TIP places motivated, talented student musicians into the heart of the music industry. They learn the essentials of music professionalism, along with the fundamentals of recording, manufacturing, merchandising, marketing, live sound, and other career development skills.  To date, 171 young musicians have participated in the Tipitina’s Internship Program.

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         Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the current state of  music and the music business.

         Tipitina’s Internship Program has been a Berklee City Music Network Site since 2006. Through this partnership, Tipitina’s Interns have access to Berklee’s online PULSE Music Method curriculum and are eligible for scholarships to the school’s Five-week Summer Program, and 4-year degree program. Through this partnership, more than $1 million worth of scholarships have been awarded to Tipitina’s Internship Program students.

         “I can say for sure that everyone at Tipitina's, our friends at Berklee, a wealth of New Orleanians, and many others I have encountered share the sentiment of being proud of all of them,” Donald Harrison, Jr. said.

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         About this year’s scholarship recipients:


         Robert Gray is a graduating senior from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). He studied piano from Freshman to Senior year at NOCCA and joined Tipitina’s Internship program when he was a Junior. Gray has been mentored by many legendary New Orleans artists such as Bill Summers, Donald Harrison, Jr., Michael Pellera, Chris Severin, Khari Lee, Terence Blanchard, and Roger Dickerson and has performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as well as at the 2014 Berklee Conference at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

         Ariyan Brister, a Junior at St. Mary’s Academy High School who also attends NOCCA where she studies classical and jazz instrumentation, has been playing various musical instruments since she was six-years-old. When she was eight, Ariyan began playing upright bass, along with several other instruments such as piano and trumpet. In 2010, she became a student of Tipitina’s Internship Program. Ariyan is also a member of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra, Louis “Satchmo” Jazz Camp, Uptown Jazz Youth Orchestra, New Jazz School, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Ariyan plans to graduate in 2016 and attend college to pursue a dual major in music performance and music therapy.

         Brandon Miles Shelton, an 18-year-old Senior at KIPP Renaissance High School and at NOCCA studying in the Jazz Instrumental department, has been playing alto saxophone since he was ten. In the fall of 2014, Brandon became a Tipitina’s Foundation Intern. Brandon is currently a New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Junior Ambassador attending Irvin Mayfield’s Saturday Music School program where for two consecutive seasons he has won the Outstanding Musician Award. In the fall, Brandon plans to attend Berklee College of Music to pursue a dual major in Film Scoring and Music Production.

         Christopher Coreil has enjoyed playing music since he was very young when he attended Baton Rouge Center for the Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School. It wasn’t until he began high school at Baton Rouge Magnet High, however, that he was introduced to the piano. Thereafter, he quickly developed a passion for the instrument – in particular for jazz piano. In 2014, Christopher joined the Baton Rouge Tipitina’s Internship program. As an upcoming Senior, Christopher is looking forward to his summer at Berklee School of Music and learning more about developing his talents.

         Nick Blanchard, a graduating Senior from Lafayette High School, has been playing drums for seven years. It wasn’t until his Freshman year when he joined his school’s marching band that he started becoming serious about his music. His Senior year, Nick was appointed drum captain of the school’s marching band where they won the title of most outstanding percussion at Showcase. As a member of the Lafayette Tipitina’s Internship Program, Nick performed at Festival International de Louisiana. After his summer with Berklee School of Music, Nick plans on attending Loyola University in New Orleans to study Jazz.




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