Aspiring superstars who attend the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club’s Music Clubhouse had a special treat Tuesday evening: a jam session with Grammy winners Tom Hamilton, bassist for Aerosmith, and Berklee alumnus, drummer and producer, Swiss Chris.
The visit was part of the Music and Youth Initiative, which aims to fund after-school music enrichment programs. The initiative opened all of the citywide Music Clubhouses – including the one on Dorchester Avenue, in partnership with the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club. The Club also collaborated with Berklee School of Music’s community service group, Movement@Berklee.
The clinic and jam session, called “Backbone of the Band: The Rhythm Section,” started at 5 p.m. and was attended by about 50 citywide Clubhouse members. During the three-hour session, Hamilton gave a 45-minute workshop, and Swiss Chris performed a glow-in-the-dark lightstix show, followed with a musical performance by the duo and a meet-and-greet.
Clubhouse music director Ayeisha Mathis said Tuesday night’s event was heavily anticipated in the Clubhouse.
“They’re just really excited that the Music Clubhouse and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester in general are getting quality programs and special people to come check us out and visit us,” she said.
Hamilton is no stranger to donating his time for local charities; last April, he participated in a musical sketch comedy at House of Blues for Improv Boston, which raised $400,000 for their youth-targeted violence prevention program.
The event also served as the kickoff for Movement@Berklee’s first-ever Lead the Change festival, which is taking place all this week. The group encourages the school’s students, faculty and alumni to do volunteer work aimed at engaging the community in music education through outreach programs and youth mentorship.
In addition to Hamilton and Swiss Chris’s Clubhouse clinic, other programs for the week include a youth Latin percussion clinic at the Music Clubhouse at the Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain, a performance and clinic by Berklee band, The Love Experiment, at the Boston Community Leadership Academy, and a “Girlz beat” workshop at Berklee to teach young girls how to produce their own music.
Mattapan’s Shea Rose, the student leader of Movement@Berklee, said after all of the time Berklee students spend improving their skills and aiming for stardom, she has found volunteering can be a refreshing and positive way to channel musical talent.
“The tools we learn at Berklee are also tools we can use to give back to people to the community and the world,” Rose said.