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Berklee Student And Roxbury Resident Rick Aggeler Donates Award Money To Buy Instruments For Program He Founded In Dorchester, MA

United States
Boston, MA, April 30, 2007 — Berklee College of Music student and Roxbury, MA, resident Rick Aggeler received a cash award from Berklee’s Recognition of Excellence Awards Program (REAP) for student employees for founding a free music program at the Blue Hill George Robert White Youth Center in Dorchester, MA. Drummer Aggeler, who graduates in two weeks, and co-founder Paul Vitolins, a Berklee alumnus, started the program at the Dorchester club, through Berklee’s Community Service Work-Study Program to give kids ages 6 to 12 an opportunity they might not otherwise have to learn to play an instrument, and gain skills in recording, engineering, and the use of production software.

Excited to have won the award, Aggeler used the money to buy new instruments for the club, including drum thrones and a set of timbales. Says Aggeler, “It means the world to me that Berklee has recognized the hard work of not only myself, but also the directors at Blue Hill, and the many Berklee students, staff, and faculty involved. In the end though, it’s the kids are the ones to thank. They’ve really accepted me into their community, and being able to create some amazing memories together through music says it all. The new gear will open their ears to the sounds of Latin hand percussion, and the thrones will finally give them a sense of sitting behind a complete drum set.”

Building on the past work of Berklee’s Office of Community and Governmental Affairs, Aggeler brought the program to a new level, creating a track record strong enough to secure the confidence of a local donor, leading to the upcoming establishment of a Music ClubHouse in the fall. The program has grown quickly, expanding to include the Yawkey Club of Roxbury (formerly Roxbury Boys and Girls Club). Aggeler has hosted a steady stream of Berklee students and alumni guest musicians imparting their knowledge and expertise on the kids. He plans to bring in Berklee faculty members in the fall to do clinics for the students.

The Roxbury club recently released a CD, Live at the Park Plaza, recorded during the Boys and Girls Club Annual fundraiser, that features five club members along with four Berklee students. Students at the Dorchester club have been busy as well; some are preparing to apply for Berklee’s City Music Program — a scholarship and mentoring initiative that gives underserved inner-city teens access to free music education — taking them one step closer to realizing a longtime goal of Aggeler’s for the program, to lead the students to higher education.

The REAP Awards are presented annually to exceptional Berklee students by Berklee’s Office of Scholarships and Student Employment.

About The Berklee College of Music:

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 state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today — and tomorrow.
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