Berklee College of Music’s summer program in Boston trains some of the brightest young musicians in the country through its five-week summer program—leading the ambitious Noah Rowe-Gaddis and Liam Laird to audition for a coveted placement. Eight local students in total plan to audition this year.

The Berklee Summer Program is the largest, most comprehensive summer music program available anywhere. With its variety of study and performance options, world-class Berklee faculty, visiting artists and state-of-the-art facilities, the five-week program has become the premiere contemporary summer music program for aspiring musicians in 4th-12th grade.

In both 2015 and 2016, two students represented JAS on full scholarship through Berklee City Music, JAS, and the generosity of underwriting donors, Robert & Judy Mann. Noah and Liam both received JAS-funded private lessons before their auditions this month.

Noah, a junior at Glenwood Springs High School and the fifth generation in his family to flourish the Roaring Fork Valley, garnered a first alternate seat to the program last year. He is dedicated to gaining a seat and a leg up in his pursuit to study music therapy at a collegiate level.

Beginning with the clarinet in the 6th grade, he “fell in love” with playing jazz music. Noah never looked back after picking up the tenor sax­─ confessing his admiration might stem from the deep sounds of the instrument matching his own baritone singing voice. Noah participates in the school musical and takes voice lessons, as well.

Noah expressed gratitude for all the support Jazz Aspen Snowmass has given him over the years, including one-on-one lessons and participation for the last four years in the Honor Jazz Band in Carbondale. He plans to major in music therapy after graduation and believes the Berklee program will help him decide if he’s serious about pursuing music after high school.

“Music is the most effective form of self-expression for me,” Noah said. “I’m playing for my life up there, not just playing to play.”

Liam plans to audition in February in order to better prepare for pursuing music studies after he graduates. Thanks to JAS’s New Year, New Sounds initiative, he will also get 2-3 extra lessons from his current JAS Pays to Play instructor before the big day.

Once a week, Liam also practices with an after-school jazz band at RFHS. He loves to play fusion, funk and jazz with fellow passionate musicians in the valley. Finding a venue to play publicly will be the next step.

After seeing the Count Basie Orchestra switch between multiple instruments as they performed live, Liam decided to play multiple instruments, as well, and will include the flute to his repertoire this year.

Noah and Liam explained the biggest obstacle for his advancement in music is finding the dedicated time and resources to practice. As part of the New Year, New Sounds program, JAS provided three additional private lessons to help prepare Noah and Liam for their Berklee auditions.

Stay tuned to find out how the auditions went and more progress from New Year, New Sound students throughout the year!

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