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Pair bring Africans to Berklee

Roger Brown and Linda Mason of Belmont. Roger Brown and Linda Mason of Belmont.
May 31, 2009
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After earning his bachelor's degree in 1978, Belmont resident Roger Brown spent a year teaching math in Kakamega, Kenya, in his first trip to Africa.

A few years later, Brown and his wife, Linda Mason, returned to the continent to direct a Save the Children Federation initiative for famine relief in Sudan.

Two years ago, Brown, by then president of the Berklee College of Music, and Mason established a program at the Boston school that gives gifted African musicians the opportunity to study in the United States.

"Our number one goal is to help the great musicians of the next generation," said Brown. "On a philosophical level, we believe music helps people understand one another. We want to be part of the effort to create a more peaceful world."

Last summer, the inaugural Africa Scholars program awarded $1.4 million in scholarships to 26 musicians who auditioned in Ghana and South Africa.

Next week, Berklee faculty members will be auditioning and interviewing African musicians in Nairobi for scholarship opportunities. The Berklee teachers will also be participating in master classes, a roundtable discussion, and a public concert.

Musicians who participate in the auditions in Kenya will also be considered for scholarships awarded by Berklee as part of another international program that encompasses more than 40 cities.

For more information, go to www.berklee.edu.

Cindy Cantrell