Berklee student Esther Rojas, a Barranquilla native, was selected by the Office of International Programs to put together a group of students to visit Medellín, Pereira and Manizales, Colombia, as part of a two-week teaching and performing series sponsored by the Colombo-Americano bi-national centers. In her own words below, Esther shares her perspective on the musical and cultural significance of this experience.
The Office of International Programs wishes to thank Esther, Caili, Magnus and Patrick for their incredible professionalism and enthusiasm throughout the event planning and the trip itself. We also are grateful to director of learning support services Pablo Vargas and assistant director of admissions Billy Herron for traveling with the group and supporting Berklee’s outreach efforts in Colombia. A huge thanks also to the dedicated staff at the Colombo-Americano in Medellín and Pereira for making this event a reality.
This is the first entry in a series of the Berklee Rhythm Collective’s student perspectives on this event. Over the next few weeks we’ll hear from the rest of the band, and get a complete picture of this unique and powerful cultural exchange experience.
Student Perspective: Esther Rojas Rodriguez
I had the honor of being selected to coordinate the group that would travel to Colombia this past June, for a two-week program teaching workshops for young musicians and performing in concerts in Medellín, Pereira, and Manizales. I asked Patrick Simard (drums) and Magnus Bakken (sax) if they would be interested in collaborating in this project. Fortunately, they gladly agreed. Later on, at the suggestion of Jason Camelio, Caili O´Doherty – a recent Berklee graduate and a wonderful pianist – joined our group, forming the Berklee Rhythm Collective.
This trip proved to be one of the most valuable and gratifying experiences I have ever had, as for the first time I was given the opportunity to share with my countrymen something that Berklee has taught me.