Lifelong musician and Grammy-nominated Director/Producer Martin Shore announces a historic partnership with non-profit organization Berklee City Music®. The two have developed a music education initiative based on Shore’s film Take Me To The River, which explores the inter-racial musical influence of Memphis in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation during the Civil Rights Movement, and the cross-generational and cross-gender collaboration exhibited in a new music project documented in the film.

Released in February in celebration of Black History Month and beyond, the Initiative brings standards-based instruction materials centered around the film and its music to educations nationwide free of charge.

“We are thrilled that Berklee City Music is a part of this amazing initiative. Take Me to the River brings to life, through music and film, an important chapter in the history of American popular music. Through Berklee’s PULSE® music method and the film’s reach into schools, we’re able to educate a new generation of young people about the musicians and social context surrounding the music of the Mississippi Delta,” said Lee Whitmore, EdD, vice president for education outreach and social entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music.

Take Me To The River brings multiple generations of award-winning Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, following them through the creative process of recording a historic new album to re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday.

The education initiative, which will initially be piloted in New York City public schools, was prepared with the assistance of the Berklee City Music program, a nonprofit education program directed by Berklee College of Music that enables youth from underserved communities to develop musically, academically, socially and emotionally, primarily through the study of contemporary music.

The initiative helps students:

  • Make cross-curricular connections in music, the arts, history, social studies, civics, and media and studies, specifically as it relates to the Civil Rights movement.
  • Develop skills in music analysis and creativity, music performance and composition, critical thinking, communication, and political analysis.
  • Accommodate a variety of learning styles.
  • Engage in inquiry-based and experiential learning.

With this guide, students will learn the significance of inter-generational and inter-racial collaboration, the historical context of the Memphis music scene in its heyday and today, and the ways in which individuals make an impact on music, culture and history.

In Take Me To The River, students and teachers will experience hip-hop artists such as Snoop Dogg, Lil’ P-Nut, Hustle & Flow‘s Oscar-winning Frayser Boy, Al Kapone and Yo Gotti being paired with Grammy-winning legends of Memphis soul and R&B, including Mavis Staples, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. Jones, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Rush, WIlliam Bell, Otis Clay, and the incomparable session musicians of Stax and Hi Records

The activities and lessons produced for the Take Me to the River education initiative are recommended for grades 6 and up and are available free of charge at beginning now in honor of Black History Month. Berklee City Music will also make these lessons available through the Berklee PULSE Music Method, an online music education portal available to members of its City Music Network and participants of Amp Up NYC.

To celebrate the launch of the Initiative, Take Me to the River will host a star-studded musical evening on Feb. 12, 2015, at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater. The event is open to the public, and includes performances by STAX legend William Bell; Grammy Award nominees Otis Clay and Bobby Rush; legendary house band Hi Rhythm SectionBen Cauley & The Royal Memphis Horns; Academy Award wer Frayser Boy; Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads; and more. The night will also feature the worldwide premiere of a New York City youth choir performing a newly commissioned arrangement of the classic gospel song, “Wish I Had Answered,” with opening performances featuring students from STAX Music Academy and Amp Up NYC. Tickets to the event can be purchased here:

For more information on the Initiative, visit