Take Me To The River Education Initiative Launched with Berklee City Music

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Director/Producer Martin Shore joins forces with Berklee City Music to develop Take Me To The River Education Initiative, a program based on his historic feature documentary that explores the influence of cross-generational, inter-racial and cross-gender collaboration relating to a unique Memphis-based music project 

Lifelong musician and Grammy-nominated Director/Producer Martin Shore announces a historic partnership with non-profit organization Berklee City Music®. The two have developed a music education initiative based on Shore’s film Take Me To The River, which explores the inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation during the Civil Rights Movement, and the cross-generational and cross-gender collaboration exhibited in a new music project documented in the film. 

Released in February in celebration of Black History Month and beyond, the Initiative brings standards-based instruction materials centered around the film and its music to educations nationwide free of charge. 

“We are thrilled that Berklee City Music is a part of this amazing initiative. Take Me to the River brings to life, through music and film, an important chapter in the history of American popular music. Through Berklee’s PULSE® music method and the film’s reach into schools, we’re able to educate a new generation of young people about the musicians and social context surrounding the music of the Mississippi Delta,” said Lee Whitmore, EdD, vice president for education outreach and social entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music.

Take Me to the River Logo

Take Me To The River brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album to re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday. 

The education initiative, which will initially be piloted in New York City public schools, was prepared with the assistance of the Berklee City Music program, a nonprofit education program directed by Berklee College of Music that enables youth from underserved communities to develop musically, academically, socially and emotionally, primarily through the study of contemporary music.

The initiative helps students:

  • Make cross-curricular connections in music, the arts, history, social studies, civics, and media and studies, specifically as it relates to the Civil Rights movement.
  • Develop skills in music analysis and creativity, music performance and composition, critical thinking, communication, and political analysis.
  • Accommodate a variety of learning styles.
  • Engage in inquiry-based and experiential learning.

With this guide, students will learn the significance of inter-generational and inter-racial collaboration, the historical context of the Memphis music scene in its heyday and today, and the ways in which individuals make an impact on music, culture and history.

Mavis StaplesIn Take Me To The River, students and teachers will experience hip-hop artists such as Snoop Dogg, Lil’ P-Nut, Hustle & Flow‘s Oscar-winning Frayser Boy, Al Kapone and Yo Gotti being paired with Grammy-winning legends of Memphis soul and R&B, including Mavis Staples, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, WIlliam Bell, Otis Clay, and the incomparable session musicians of Stax and Hi Records

                          Mavis Staples

The activities and lessons produced for the Take Me to the River education initiative are recommended for grades 6 and up and are available free of charge at tmttreducation.com beginning now in honor of Black History Month. Berklee City Music will also make these lessons available through the Berklee PULSE Music Method, an online music education portal available to members of its City Music Network and participants of Amp Up NYC. 

Charles "Skip" Pitts with student Charles “Skip” Pitts with student

To celebrate the launch of the Initiative, Take Me to the River will host a star-studded musical evening on Feb. 12, 2015, at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater. The event is open to the public, and includes performances by STAX legend William Bell; Grammy Award nominees Otis Clay and Bobby Rush; legendary house band Hi Rhythm SectionBen Cauley & The Royal Memphis Horns; Academy Award wer Frayser Boy; Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads; and more. The night will also feature the worldwide premiere of a New York City youth choir performing a newly commissioned arrangement of the classic gospel song, “Wish I Had Answered,” with opening performances featuring students from STAX Music Academy and Amp Up NYC. Tickets to the event can be purchased here: http://www.allstarsattheapollo.eventbrite.com

For more information on the Initiative, visit tmttreducation.com

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About Martin Shore Producer/Director Martin Shore began his entertainment career at 14 as a PA for his brother’s award-winning 1977 film Punking Out. As a musician, Shore has toured with Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, Bluesman Willie, and many others.  He has produced soundtracks and has acted as music supervisor for a number of feature films, including Saw, Saw II, Rize, and Rock School, among others. He has been a music producer for a variety of artists, including Yo Gotti, Mavis Staples, Booker T. Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, and many others. As a Grammy-nominated producer, Shore has toured most recently with Cody Dickinson and his band Hill Country Revue. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Sciences (Grammy Awards) and the Producers Guild of America. For more information, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2005915/bio.

About Take Me To The River Take Me to the River is a feature documentary celebrating the inter-generational and inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation. The film brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album, to re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday. Featuring Terrence Howard, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi All-Stars and many more. This film is produced by: Martin Shore, Jerry Harrison, Cody Dickinson, Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, and Dan Sameha. For more information, visit http://tmttr.com

About Berklee City Music Berklee City Music® is a nonprofit program that harnesses the energy of contemporary music to provide music education to 4th through 12th graders in underserved communities at 48 Network sites, educating over 28,000 students across the country.  With year-round instruction, the Berklee PULSE® Music Method online music education platform, expert faculty, individualized mentoring and a comprehensive curriculum, Berklee City Music combines the breadth of Berklee College of Music resources, facilities and available scholarships with an environment of attention and encouragement.  Youth receive the tools and support they need to flourish as students, musicians and, perhaps most important, confident and well-rounded individuals ready to shape the world. For more information, visit http://www.berklee.edu/city-music.

Source:  Press Release

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