Stax Music Academy Student William Graves Awarded Full-Tuition Scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston

L to R: Sinbad, William Graves, Cedric Maxwel

Eight young musicians from underserved communities in Boston and across the U.S. and Canada were awarded four-year, full-tuition scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music at an emotional presentation at the Berklee Performance Center on Tuesday, August 9. The collective value of the scholarships, presented to students from Berklee City Music Network sites, exceeded $1.2 million. The event was emceed by actor-comedian Sinbad and featured Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell.

Among the recipients was William Graves, a rising drummer from the Stax Music Academy “Music has changed my life,” said Graves, who plans to major in music production and engineering at Berklee. “I wanted to go somewhere that would expose me to as many cultures and vibes as possible. Berklee seems like the right fit…walking around campus, I feel free to just be myself.”

Scholarship students were welcomed to the stage by Berklee President Roger H. Brown; Lee Whitmore, Berklee vice president of education outreach and social entrepreneurship; Krystal Banfield, dean for City Music; Sinbad; and Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell. The concert showcased the talents of Berklee City Music students performing in jazz, pop/rock, choral, big band, and R&B ensembles.

The recipients were all participants in Berklee City Music, a program that delivers high-quality contemporary music education instruction to youth from underserved communities at no or low cost. The Berklee City Music Network is an association of 44 community organizations that serves more than 29,000 students in the U.S. and Canada each year. Since its inception, Berklee City Music has awarded 246 four-year full-tuition scholarships totaling more than $13 million.

The eight recipients are among 85 teens who were enrolled in Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program on City Music Summer Scholarships.