Maria Shafer Finalist in International Jazz Vocal Competition

Maria Shafer is one of only two Americans among 20 international vocal finalists in a jazz competition in Latvia. The Riga Jazz Stage 2014 takes place April 2-6 in Riga, Latvia, the European Capital of Culture for 2014. The judges are Raimonds Pauls (Latvian composer), Magnus Palmquist (artistic director of Stockholm Jazz Festival), China Moses (American jazz singer) among many others.

Laptop Ensemble in Italy

The BCCM Laptop Ensemble, Martin Herman, Director, is preparing for their concerts rehearsal at LaMaMa, Umbria, as part of the Spoleto Fringe Festival.

La MaMa Umbria International is a nonprofit cultural center and artists’ residence dedicated to the creation of activities which foster cultural exchange and international understanding, In the past eleven years, the Center’s activities have included the presentation of over thirty theatre productions as well as workshops, art exhibitions, and conferences. – See more here.

Michael Malinowski Studies in Brazil

Alumnus Michael Malinowski (percussion) spent the past month in Brazil for Carnaval and studying/playing music. Studying a wide array of genres, he began in Rio de Janeiro and traveled along the coast to Recife, in the northeast.

While in Rio de Janeiro, Michael attended Sambôdromo. As he explains, “It’s a huge strip where the Rio Carnaval Parade happens where a bunch of groups have massive parades for a contest. Each of these top groups have about 4,000 people in them, fully decked out with costumes and floats. Each group has about 200 drummers too, and then a few singers with microphones and they sing ONE song over and over and the groups get judged… At the end of the last group people will rush to the floor, so that’s what I did.”

If you are interested in Brazilian music or culture you can reach him at:

Alex Berru Travels the World

Alumnus Alex Berru just completed three contracts with Holland America Line aboard the Statendam, Maasdam, and Noordam.  His travels as a cruise ship musician took him to Canada, New England, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and Panama Canal. He is currently performing with the Esquires Swing Band for another season with a concert at Edwards Air Force Base and at Westchester Elks Lodge