Tuesday October 9, 2012

SHEFFIELD -- The deadline for applications for the Tupelo Award is Oct. 15.

The Tupelo Award, a fund of Berk shire Taconic Community Founda tion, offers young adults the opportunity to deepen and enrich an abiding passion or serious interest through study, travel, research and development of a specific project.

"The Tupelo Award is an opportunity for a special person to make a step toward fulfillment of their aspirations and dreams. I have been blessed in the past with people who believed in me and have supported me through many endeavors. The Tupelo Award is a manifestation of my wish to share such opportunities with others," said the anonymous donor who established the fund.

The fund will award up to $1,500 this year. Residents of the Berkshire Tac onic region between the ages of 16 and 36 who demonstrate financial need and other sources of support for their chosen project are eligible to apply.

Jerome Edgerton of Pittsfield was the first recipient of the award.

Edgerton’s passion for drumming and commitment to achieving his project’s goals were contributing factors in the award. He began studying his craft at the age of 2 and later was exposed to a variety of styles including African djembe drums, bucket drums as well as traditional drums.

His current project consisted of three distinct phases: The first involved researching percussion instruments and drums and their use in various cultures of the world. During the project’s second phase, Edgerton studied African drumming with a master drummer.

The project will conclude with a musical production, "Evolution of Rhythms," which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Barrington Stage Company, 58 Union St., Pittsfield.

The performance will focus on rhythms that have evolved from the beginning of time to the 21st century. It will feature African drumming and dance, jazz and hip-hop. The performance will include bucket drumming, step and modern dance, rap and break dancing. The cast will consist of youth from the various after school programs Edgerton teaches as well as members of Youth Alive Step, Dance and Drumline.

"I really appreciate being chosen for the Tupelo Award," Edgerton said. "It allowed me to travel to New York, so I could work with a master drummer, a first for me. The award also helped with some of the costs of the performance. These are things I could never have done without this award - it’s been a real boost."

Applications are available online at www.berkshiretaconic.org/grantseekers and will be reviewed by Berkshire Taconic staff to ensure that eligibility requirements are met. A selection committee will then review the applications and make its determination based on established criteria.

For more information, contact Berkshire Taconic at (413) 227-0370 or programs@berkshiretaconic.org.