The Berklee City Music All Stars recently had the opportunity to tour with American Idol winner, Kris Allen. Here are a couple journal entries from one of our students, Jennifer Aldana, who shares her experience of rehearsing and performing with the star. The video is a clip of her sharing one of her songs with Kris Allen. This tour was put on with a partnership with The Music Empowers Foundation and Berklee City Music Network in order to bring awareness to the need for music education.
Day 1- Meeting Kris. (Saturday, April 30th, 2011)
After a month of rehearsals, practice, listening to lots of Kris’s music and dreaming about touring, finally we (the Berklee City Music Rock Ensemble) were going to meet Kris Allen himself! At first I was a little nervous, and I wondered what his personality would be like. One never knows because of how much the media can sometimes block out the true colors of stars. There’s always the case where the pop diva seems sweet and caring but is rumored to treat stage crews and other staff rudely. For Kris, that was not the case at all. Sweet, polite, and humble are just a few characteristics I saw from him after being with him and his crew for only an hour. When he wasn’t looking the band and I would throw glances at eachother of excitement and smile wide, then quickly return to professional mode as we continued rehearsing. We only rehearsed with him for an hour and it seemed like he was fairly impressed with our work and excited about working with us. I was SO excited to tour and to perform the next day at the graduation ceremony! Besides taking pictures and the City Music staff asking our special guest questions, we had some pizza and Kris and his crew (camera man, tour manager, and friend (?)) were off to probably get some rest and explore the great city of Boston! Honestly, what was happening wasn’t really hitting me yet. I knew I was going on tour, and I was so stoked about it, but I was living a dream I’ve had for so long, much sooner than I thought it would happen. And on top of that, I was living my dream of performing and touring with a professional and well known musician, an American Idol winner… Pinch me!
Day 2- Kick-Off Performance/Graduation Ceremony! (Sunday, May 1st, 2011)
“Yes, Kris is in the building,” is what I said to so many of my friends in City Music. No one could believe he was actually at Berklee, and that we were actually playing with him, but it was true! My family, boyfriend, and some friends were anxiously waiting in the David Friend Recital Hall at Berklee to see the show. I’m not going to lie, I was more nervous and jittery than I usually am for performances that day. I’ve been performing since I was seven years old and it should seem silly that I would still get nervous for performing, but it almost always happens. My boyfriend and best friend, Kevin, always encourages me to channel my nerves into energy, so that’s exactly what I did. Partially though, I know that my trembling is from the adrenaline pumping in me to perform and live out my passion; singing. The Rock Ensemble was fourth on the set. Backstage people were telling me how awesome they thought our ensemble was and how envious they were of how free we were onstage, but honestly, in any genre I think one should be able to be free and let go, yet I have to admit that playing rock takes it to a whole other level. The Rock Ensemble set went really well, and seeing my family and boyfriend in the crowd always makes me nervous because their judgement means so much to me. Surprisingly, seeing Kris in the crowd brought me comfort. It made me want to get more energetic because I started thinking about the tour and how much fun it would be. After singing my solo song, “Forever” by In This Moment, the crowd loved it so much that I got a standing ovation! It was incredible! I was not expecting that reaction at all and was taken aback by their reaction, but I loved the feeling! Then it was Kris’ turn to come onstage, and I saw the wide and curious eyes of the crowd brighten up. In between the middle of playing and singing “Live Like We’re Dying” I couldn’t hold back my big smile. This is going to sound really corny, but Im a corny person (haha): I was not only living my dream, but I was really living like I was dying. Cherishing every second of this experience.