NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies, Inc. (BAAMS) announced that it will open its doors at Building 6 in the Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
BAAMS' Founder and Executive Director Richard Boulger, a North Adams native, said knowing the impact music can have on young peoples' lives, he is excited to share his knowledge with Berkshire County music students, in person.
"This is the reason I came back home to the Berkshires after many years touring the world and living in New York City teaching thousands of children in some of its most underserved communities," Boulger said. "I have seen firsthand how music can directly transform a child’s life — it can change how they see themselves, how they communicate, and the direction of their life. Simply stated, learning to play music can change people's lives for the better."
The nonprofit came into existence in 2019 and Boulger, a professional jazz trumpet player, planned to bring in a lineup of world-class jazz musicians to teach in the academy. The academy was originally slated to open in the former St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Adams.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the academy shifted online. Now, Boulger is happy to finally be able to offer in-person instruction in a permanent location.
"With the exception of the Berkshires' Summer Jazz Band Day Camps in 2018, 2019, and 2020, we have been working with music students via our online learning platform eBAAMS," Boulger said. "I’m delighted to say that we have survived a very challenging first two years. We're eagerly planning our in-person learning for our students and faculty."
Mayor Jennifer Macksey, who Boulger said was instrumental in moving into Building 6, said she was excited to bring BAAMS to the city.
"The City of North Adams and I are very excited to announce the Berkshires' Academy for Advanced Musical Studies will be the newest tenant of Heritage Park. BAAMS will provide inspiration and innovation in a space perfectly suited for music learning," Macksey said. "This expands the opportunities for music-education experiences for young people within our community and beyond."
"The city looks forward to hearing the musical talents of BAAMS students showcased at Heritage Park," added Macksey.
Boulger said BAAMS has recruited a diverse, world-class music faculty who are committed to sharing their experience and insights with students. He said all of the BAAMS faculty members are master instrumentalists, improvisers, composers, and educators who are also active touring and recording artists and collectively have won numerous Grammy awards. They've taught/teach at well-known music schools including The Berklee College of Music, The Julliard School, SUNY-Purchase Jazz Conservatory, The Hartt School of Music, University of Southern California, and more.
"All of this will not only help area music students improve as instrumentalists, improvisers, and composers, but also enhances the contributions they make to their respective school music programs. Young BAAMS music students move forward with fresh musical insights, strategies, and ideas," Boulger explained.
Boulger said alongside in-person instruction, BAAMS will offer remote live classes and work with faculty and students in Europe, South America, and from around the world.
BAAMS is open to Berkshire County, and regional music students ages 12 to 18. They offer studies in saxophones/woodwinds, trumpet/brass, piano/keyboards, drums and percussion, bass, guitar, and voice.
Students are introduced and study different styles of music including: Jazz, Rock, Funk, Latin, Electronica, Classical, World Music and more.
This summer, the 4th Berkshires' Summer Jazz Band Day Camp is set for the new BAAMS' location at Building 6 from Aug 15-19. Families may sign up their young musicians here.
Those who want to lend financial support to BAAMS can donate here. Donations can also be mailed to 15 State Street, Building 6, North
Adams, MA 01247
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