The five weeks away from home was a life changer for Beorn Chantara.
After the home-schooled Kilauea teenager studied violin during a summer music program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, a whole new world opened up for him.
“It was an amazing experience,” Chantara said. “Anyone from Kauai who attends, it will completely change their perspective on what they can do with music.”
Others will have the same opportunity Chantara had.
Chantara was the first Berklee music scholarship winner under a program that’s geared to send young Kauai musicians to Boston for the school’s summer music course. The program brings in 1,000 students from around 70 countries to learn the intricacies of music from the best instructors in the world.
“They really help cultivate your musical aspirations,” said Chantara, a violinist who attends Kauai Community College and was recently accepted full time to Berklee. “They care that you have a passion for it and they want to cultivate it in a way you want.”
Others can share Chantara’s experience thanks to a scholarship drive sponsored by Berklee and the Kauai Concert Association.
The two-fold event will feature a music and dance workshop from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 at the KCC Performing Arts Center. Then, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, the Berklee Kauai Scholarship Fundraiser Concert will kick off at the Performing Arts Center and feature classical Indian dancer Rehka Menon and the award-winning international vocal quartet, Women of the World, also.
“I was able to have that opportunity and I want any kid who has the talent to go,” said Will Lydgate, a Berklee alumnus who started the scholarship drive after attending the music program in 2004 in the hopes of inspiring Kauai kids to experience the musical world beyond the islands.
A goal of his is to see students come back to Kauai after studying to teach music here.
“It’s good to be able to gain skills,” he said. “The important thing is to get skills and then come back and use them.”
Lydgate returned to Kauai to teach and perform music. The special guests coming to Kauai are musical peers he met while studying in Boston.
“We thought, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could start a scholarship fund?’” he said of the world it opened up for him after he first attended the program.
Concert tickets are available at the door and cost $30 for adults and $15 for students.
The workshop is free.
“Attending the five-week program has opened up many new opportunities for me,” added Chantara, who wants to teach and play music on Kauai. “I have Berklee friends around the world sending me messages letting me know of gigs they would love me to participate in if I am out their way. These friends live in places ranging from Asia and Europe to North, South, Central America and Puerto Rico.”
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