Finally, after four years of homework and learning about music, my days at DSA are now over! All my friends and I will miss each other. They are all such great and talented students. I know we are all excitedly awaiting our future and for all of our dreams to come true.

There were many inspirational speeches given by the principal, Valedictorian, etc. Each department made videos and in between the speeches these videos honoring the graduates from each of these departments were shown. The video that the Piano Department made was the most hilarious one. It was entitled “What is Going to Become of You.” It was a fictional comedy depicting where the piano major seniors would be in 20 years. In 20 years I was going to be a stand-up comedian. I think I was really funny and I got a lot of laughs when the video was shown. The rest of the ceremony was nice but the best part was going on stage and receiving my diploma. It was a moment I will never forget.

When the ceremony was over my family, Annette, Ms. Bonnie (my private piano teacher) and myself ate at a nearby French restaurant to celebrate. My dad presented a speech about a life lesson he learned when he and I were together. My mom’s toast was beautiful to hear.

This day has been one of the best days of my life! It is also a day I will never forget because it is a day that I say goodbye to my adolescence and hello to adulthood. Although I am nervous about adulthood I am estatic to see what my future holds. Berklee here I come!!!

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Re-Cap of The Last Couple of Months

Ben Jenkins prom kingThere have been so many miracles that have occurred during my senior year. About three weeks ago there was one miracle that gave me so much joy! I was invited to Prom! The best part of it was that I was nominated for Prom King. And guess what…I WON!!! When they announced my name as the winner everybody in attendance at the Chateaux at Fox Meadows roared for me! I won due to my cuteness, being lovable, and special. When I walked on stage I was awarded a scepter and the Queen was awarded a crown. I immediately texted my mom and dad and they were both very proud of me. My dad texted me back with a little line from The Wizard of Oz. Several days later, Dad bought me a crown in the shape of a cross and fleur-de-lis. This was very meaningful to my heart. Hakuna matata!

I am just exceedingly ecstatic for my future. During the past couple of months I have been blessed with so many wonderful things. I can only hope that my future will be as blessed. I am very excited to start college because I will get to learn more about music and music theory. I know I am going to absolutely love music technology. I think it is so cool how I can make up a song that I can think of in my mind. There are three issues that I can think of that might hinder my advancement: 1. Driving. Unlike typical individuals, I have to wait to learn. Fortunately, there will be lots of forms of transportation in Boston. 2. Cooking. If I don’t learn how to cook soon enough I’ll be eating microwaved meals. Although I’m sure that there will be a cafeteria with a plethora of food. 3. Money. Yeah, budgets and all, duh! Perhaps when I am around 21 I’ll have the chance to apply for a credit card. Until then I’ll just always have to have cash on me cash.

I really can’t wait for my spectacular future! I am gonna miss so many of my family and friends. I can still keep in touch with them on Facebook. This is the moment I have been waiting for!!!

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The Amazing Month That Was April

Ben Jenkins pianoApril had finally come and my huge senior recital that I have been preparing for was finally here. A lot of people from faraway came to hear me perform. The people in attendance included my brother Matthew and his wife and son, many of my past elementary school teachers, and my friends from my school. The songs that I performed for my recital were as follows: 1. Cordoba-Ernesto Lecuona; 2. Pictures at an Exhibition (Promenade, Old Castle, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks, and Gates of Kiev)-Modest Mussorgsky; 3. Passion-Kingdom Hearts; and 4. Rhapsody in Blue. The last song that I performed was everybody’s favorite.

I played it so heavily and so beautifully that 80% of the women that were in attendance were crying. By the end of my performance I was playing so hard that I was sweating to my face. I was also filled with ecstasy. I felt more ecstasy during my recital than I had during the fundraiser performance. When my recital was over many people wanted to take pictures with me and wanted me to sign my autograph on their programs. This has just been another amazing night I will never forget!!!

The day after the concert, I checked my e-mail and there was a message from Berklee College of Music. I opened up the e-mail and read the letter saying…I WAS ADMITTED!!! It was the most glorious and most amazing miracle of my life! Just imagine me, going to Berklee (who would have thought). I’m telling you, I knew all along that I was going to get in. When I go there I’ll make new friends, they’ll hang around with me, and they will recognize my talent and I will recognize theirs! I am not sure if I will live in a dorm or an apartment. Although I’ll miss my friends and family I will be going there for good. It is my destiny to play music!

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Bands for Autism Awareness

Well folks, The Bands for Autism Awareness Fundraiser had finally come. This is it!

Williams Ink (one of the bands that was performing) set up my keyboard on the stage. Once it was set up I had to warm up and tune my keyboard with the sound mixer. The room that I would be entertaining in was spectacular! Tables were moved aside so people could dance and there were lots of pretty donated items that were set on the back table of the room. Raffle tickets were being sold to the crowd in order for me to raise money for my college fund. My mom, dad, sister, piano teacher, and most of the Breakthrough Interventions staff were in attendance and they all appeared so joyful to hear me play.

I played two sets. The songs in my first set were as follows: 1. Piano Man-Billy Joel, 2. Evil Ways-Santana (only song I sang, because it’s a bass line. I am not tenor.), 3. Don’t Stop Believin’-Journey. The songs in my second set were: 1. Passion-Kingdom Hearts (shortened), 2. Ho Hey-Lumineers, and 3. We Are Young-Fun.

The crowd danced to a couple of my songs while others sang to them. Everybody loved my last song, We Are Young! They must have heard it so many times that when they heard me play it they were inspired to sing it out loud. When Williams Ink played on the stage, they performed some really nice songs to dance to. I danced to one song that was unbelievable! I met a mysterious blonde, dressed up in a denim jacket, and I think she was wearing western boots (I am not sure if she wore a Fedora). We were twirling ourselves around the dance floor together. She looked and danced astounding!It was an awesome night! Everybody was so proud of me and of my performance. I couldn’t believe how ecstatic I was that people were donating money to me to help me go to college. I’ll soon be rich! This was just one of these nights I will never, EVER forget!!!

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The Audition

ben-jenkins-berklee-auditionA couple weeks after returning from my trip to the Broadmoor I started to prepare for my audition to the Berklee College of Music. DOC (Annette), Stephanie (you know, the Connect Us Executive Director), and I spent several weekends preparing for the interview questions. As it turns out, most of the questions I prepared for were not exactly what the interviewer asked me.

I spent several weeks practicing my piano pieces and when it was all said and done I felt very prepared for my audition. The day finally came! I was traveling to LA where the auditions were being held. Mom dropped me off at DOC’s house and I hugged her goodbye. DOC and I then walked her dogs for a bit. After that, we grabbed our trunks (suitcases) and put them in the trunk of her car. In the car she had a camera connected to the front windshield in order to record our conversation during our drive to the airport. We talked about the trip, my recital, and how I can become more acquainted with girls.

As we drove to the airport, we passed a blue statue of a mustang (some people think that is what it is, but it is really a ‘bronco’) whose red devil-like beams shoot out of his eyes. This made me think that a stallion would be perfect fit for a horror James Patterson style novel.

Sorry I got sidetracked, now back to the trip, we pulled into the parking garage, checked ourselves in, etc. and just so you know, all this time I had been documenting in my journal the status of this trip from beginning end.When we landed in Burbank Jim was there waiting for us. Jim is the cameraman for DOC. He is the one that films documentaries for Breakthrough Interventions and he is one of my buddies. As soon as we got our trunks we hit the road in search for an In-n-Out Burger. In-n-Out is one of the top rated fast food chains in California and has the best burgers ever!!!! Later that day we visited my brother, his wife, and my nephew. We all went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant called La Choza. His wife had a beautiful smile throughout the visit. When we dropped them off I hugged them goodbye and they wished me luck on my audition. It was great seeing them!

The following two days of the trip were… well… not really turning out to be as I thought. I sometimes treated people with disrespect, but you know there are times I have to get things off of my back and then I can move forward with life. With that being said, I started to feel like The King’s Speech, meaning I started to feel nervous about the audition.

The day of the audition I knew I was prepared for it. When my name was called I entered a room to practice my audition song called the Granada by Ernesto Lecuona (a contemporary Cuban composer). After that I entered another room where I had to immediately perform what I had been practicing. I played my song and it kind of sounded better than when I played it at my December recital. Next, the judge gave me a melodic test. This is where the judge sang a few notes and I played them back on the piano. Last, I was given a rhythmic test where the judge clapped a beat and I clapped it back. After my musical audition I was interviewed.

When the interview was over, I gave the interviewer my first album entitled Ben-evolent so he could deliver it to the admissions staff. I was a little obsessive because I wanted the CD back after he listened to it but sadly it had to go away. DOC and Jim explained to me why they needed to keep it but I was still sad about it. As we drove back to DOC’S friend’s house owned by Donovan and Michelle (who we spent two nights with) I was excited about the Oscar’s party we were having. My biggest surprise of the night was when “Argo” won Best Picture because I just don’t understand why people would like it so much.

Now, I await for my letter from Berklee that will come in April. I am keeping my fingers crossed as a sign of hope, not the kind of sign where you say “Crossies! It doesn’t count!” If I get accepted into Berklee, it will be just as amazing as I had ever dreamed!

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LA Here I Come!

Berklee College of Music

A few weeks have passed and a new, exciting moment has arrived! This moment that will determine the fate of my future. I am preparing to audition for the Berklee College of Music. The audition will be held in Los Angeles, but the college is located in Boston. Annette and I have been working hard on preparing me for the interview questions. I have spent the past two weekends with her working on them. I would say I have 90% of the answers memorized. Annette changes up the questions and has helped me clue into key words in order for me to give the best possible answer.

I will be traveling to LA on February 22. I feel very prepared for the audition and I am very excited about the trip. Maybe I’ll run into some movie stars! Last Friday during my piano lesson a videographer came by to record me for a documentary that is being made about me. The pieces that I worked on with Ms. Bonnie (my piano teacher) are coming along. This includes the songs for my big recital. I feel like this videotaping was quite an excellent preparation for my audition. At the end of the taping session I talked to the camera and gave Annette a message. She doesn’t know about it yet, but I hope it makes her laugh.

As you continue to read about my story please send good wishes out to me for this is a brilliant moment in my life. I hope and pray that I will attend this college. This will be the most exceptional and best achievement that has every occurred in my life.

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Colorado Music Educators Association

I’ll begin my blog with this. My piano teacher from DSA invited all the seniors in his department to come and spend three days at the Broadmoor Hotel located in Colorado Springs to visit the CMEA (Colorado Music Educators Association). Our assistant principal of DSA is the President of CMEA. There was much, much fun to be had.Most of the boys who went on this trip with me are apart of the “Piano Gang.” There were many chaperones that went to monitor all of us but the person that had the highest responsibility for watching over me was my piano teacher. Most of the events we attended were held by CMEA. We went to a few seminars that involved Tri-M and sound painting. We also attended a few concerts. The most favorite part of my trip was the hotel room I stayed in. It was really cozy and really fancy. In fact, the entire hotel was fancy. It had amazing art both in and out of the building. The main hall, the lobby, and the ballroom had wallpaper with fancy designs and patterns. There were also crystal chandeliers everywhere and I was like, “Whoa!!!” The indoor pool was very grand and had a tiny bar and a hot tub next to it. I thanked God for this, because it’s winter (though the weather was really warm.) Like every hotel I have stayed in, free coffee was served in the morning. My room also had a bible in the nightstand. The best part of the room was the grand widescreen TV in front of the beds. It also had a beautiful view of the parking lot. The shower floor and walls were marble and unlike my shower at home the water felt very soft. The bathroom had a little window in which one could see people. For example, I could see a wealthy-looking man taking a warm bubble bath in his the tub. Indeed, the bathtub was filled with bubbles hiding things I wasn’t supposed to see. Lastly, the most important/exciting thing about the bathroom was that it had another wide screen TV on the wall above the sink. The dining room did not have much detail to it, but the food was “muy delicioso!” OK, I’m not saying it was a Mexican restaurant I am just saying the food was very delicious. The “piano gang” and I all stuck together and it was quite nice for many reasons. I bonded with them and I felt like I belonged. This trip was beyond phenomenal, meaning that this trip was the most brilliant in my life so far! I tell ya, this trip rocked part of my year out!

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