Our Team

Our staff and board of directors are composed of some of Boston’s most excellent musicians, teaching artists, radio and technology experts, and arts professionals. As a collective, we aim to inspire young people by acting as positive role models through our dedication to music and youth development.

Board of Directors

Steven Snyder, President

Vice President of Marketing & Development, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center

Gaby Perry, Treasurer 

PBO Managing Director, First Republic Bank

Adam Klein, Clerk

Principal, Callanan & Klein Communications, Inc.

Doug Brenhouse

Business Executive/Entrepreneur 

Michael Cohen

Christiana Fischer, MBA

Senior Manager of Logistics and Transportation, Wayfair

Cindy Lopez

Helpline Services Manager, Health Resources in Action

Nikki Stewart

Vice President of Development, United South End Settlements

Johnny Giraldo

Director,Salsa y Control Dance Company

Administrative Staff

Artistic Staff

Nancy Lagro
Business Manager

Nancy Lagro, Business Manager, started with ZUMIX in February, 2007, and is responsible for office operations and assisting upper management with development of ZUMIX office support programs. Nancy has over 24 years of managerial experience as Vice President of Operations at American Computer, Inc. and as a Customer Service Representative at ComputerShare (formerly EquiServe).  Nancy received several customer service awards while working at ComputerShare.  Nancy also represented American Computer Group for five years with Executive Women International, both locally and at national conventions. 

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Leo Colon
Guitar & Bass Instructor

Leo Colon, Guitar & Bass Instructor, was born in the Dominican Republic and started his musical education at the Conservatorio Nacional de Santo Domingo. After moving to Boston in 1995, he studied jazz improvisation with Charlie Banacos, Jay Weik and Steve Neil. In 1998, Leo led a jazz quartet featuring Martin Dalmasi on sax, and has been a member of the R&B/Funk/Raggae band “In the House” since 1999. In 2001, Leo joined the Christ Episcopal church in Hyde Park, as the musical director. He is also the Director of the Do Re Mi School of Music in Roxbury.  A multi instrumentalist, Leo founded the Diver City Band in 2001 along with Mario Aranda and the ZUMIX Guitar Ensemble in 2005. He has been teaching at ZUMIX since 1998 and privately, from his home studio, since 1990. Leo Enrolled at Berklee College of Music in the Spring of 2009 to pursue a Professional Music Degree.  www.leocolonmusic.com

(617) 568-9777
Marlene Del Rosario
Piano Instructor

Marlene Del Rosario, Piano Instructor, is a composer, vocalist and pianist. She leads The Marlene Jazz Ensemble and is a regular in the New England jazz circuit. Opening for world-renowned Cuban pianist, Omar Sosa at the 2008 Philippine International Jazz Festival, Marlene has also performed and appeared on television in the Philippines, Peru and in Boston.  She has entertained Princess Chulabhorn of Thailand as well as Filipino Presidents, Fidel Ramos and Cory Aquino, and recently, Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, Mayor Menino and local senators.  She is also Musical Director for the Citi Performing Arts Center's Celebrate Musical Theater Sing Out Loud Workshops. Other credits include representing her country and winning 2nd place at an international competition in Japan for her peace-themed composition, which was also performed for Pope John Paul II for an audience of over a million. Marlene was also musical director for several school musicals (Umana Barnes and the Park School), as well as ZUMIX’s Warmth program. Her discography includes a children’s Ballet album and two US-released CDs, including the latest, “Marlene LIVE with a Little Help from Her Friends”, which has garnered critical praise and is played in jazz stations nationally and in Canada. Marlene is a native of Manila, Philippines and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management Economics.  She moved to the US to pursue musical studies at the Berklee College of Music and has studied under Lazlo Gardony, Cheryl Bentyn, Livingston Taylor and Bob Gullotti.  www.marlenemusic.net

(617) 568-9777
Corey DePina
Youth Development and Performance Manager

Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager, grew up in Roxbury as a first generation American from a family of Cape Verdean immigrants. Now living in West Roxbury, Corey is an accomplished rapper and a skilled workshop and program facilitator. He performs and teaches all over the United States. He served on the Board for Critical Breakdown - one of Boston's biggest and longest running all-age open mics - and has done workshops on the history of hip hop as well as creative writing and performance. Corey studied for two years at Massachusetts Communication College and has completed many BEST Initiative youth worker trainings, including the Advanced Youth Workers Certificate program. Corey continues to share his passion of performance, social justice, hip hop, and education to help convey the important role music plays in both personal and community development. His current endeavor is fusion-conscious homemade lyrics to heavy Dubstep music to help spice up his creative writing and performance.

(617) 568-9777
Laura Macias
Sprouts Coordinator & Piano Instructor

Laura Macias, Sprouts Coordinator & Piano Instructor, received her Bachelors in Music Composition and Theory from the Petrie School of Music at Converse College and her Masters in Music Composition from the Longy School of Music, where she was awarded the Nadia Boulanger scholarship.  In 2005 she was selected to be part of the European American Music Alliance, where she was awarded a scholarship to study composition at L'Ecole Normale in Paris, France.  In 2008, she completed the Kodaly Music Training at the New England Conservatory.  Laura is an active composer in the Boston area.  Her musical catalog includes compositions for chamber orchestra, art songs, chamber music and incidental music for the theatre.  Laura was recently selected as a composer to participate in the 2011 Vancouver International Art Song Institute.  Her music was also recently featured in concerts given by the Boston New Music Initiative ensemble.  Besides writing art music, Laura enjoys working with children.  Laura has been working to map a path for our youngest members to actively participate in group programs and to increase and deepen their involvement as they grow.  She has a strong belief in developing music fundamentals and her youthful personality makes learning fun.

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Ed Meradith
Piano Instructor

Ed Meradith, Piano Instructor, was born, raised, and educated in Nebraska (UNL.)  He has been a Boston area musician for over twenty years, and has been with Zumix for over six years as a piano teacher, collaborator, and co-director of the Divercity Band.  As a composer, songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist, Ed’s CD credits are SWIM (2006), and the upcoming FREE GUM.  Ed has composed incidental music for several plays and composed “There it Goes Again” for the film All the Rage.  Ed’s other current projects include Choral Director for the YMCA Women’s Chorus (A Touch Of Class), and acoustic guitar and voice with Heaven Sent.  Ed has also taught music at the Boston Ballet summer program for the past five years. As a pianist, Ed played at the Ritz for many years, as well as the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Park Plaza.

myspace.com/edwardmeradith           www.cdbaby.com/cd/edwardmeradith2

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Madeleine Steczynski
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Madeleine Steczynski, Co-Founder and Executive Director, is an East Boston resident. She founded ZUMIX in 1991 in response to the worst year of violence in the City of Boston's history. Together with ZUMIX's Board of Directors and Youth Advisory Board, she has grown ZUMIX from a kitchen table project into a vital East Boston community institution. As an advocate for the arts, Madeleine has served on the Executive Committee for East Boston Healthy Boston Coalition; was one of the founding members of Cultural Connections, a three-year effort to integrate arts as part of a Sustainable Community initiative funded by The PEW Charitable Trust; and served as an Artistic Fellow for The Boston Foundation’s Arts and Audiences Initiative. She also served for three years as a Cultural Fellow for the New England Foundation for the Arts Building Communities through Culture Initiative, and as a Community Fellow for Eureka Communities Boston.

In 2006 ZUMIX was chosen as a Social Innovator for the Social Innovation Forum at MIT, the same year Madeleine was chosen by the East Boston Times Free Press as East Boston’s Woman of the Year. In 2007 Madeleine was nominated and participated in the Salzburg Global Seminar's Cultural Institutions Without Borders seminar in Austria; received the Canyon Ranch Be the Change Award at the Massachusetts Conference for Women; and was an advisor for the Music National Service Initiative in Washington D.C. In 2008 Madeleine spearheaded a development team in the acquisition and full renovation of an historic firehouse as a new home for ZUMIX.

In 2009 she successfully completed a $4.6 million dollar capital campaign and moved ZUMIX into its new home. In 2011 Madeleine started a 3-year learning journey as a prestigious Barr Fellow. In 2012, she was honored with a Berklee Urban Service Award.  Madeleine attended Boston College, the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts – Boston, and the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University.

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Brandon Allen
Voice Instructor

Brandon H. Allen, has been with Zumix since 2012 teaching private voice and the Voces Ensemble. He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, arranger and music educator living and working in the Greater Boston area.

 

With a starting foundation in gospel music growing up in church, he went on to study classical and negro spirituals touring with The Boys Choir Of Harlem while still in middle school. There, he got to perform alongside greats like Kathleen Battle and Aretha Franklin. 

 

In high school, he performed alongside Whitney Houston on Good Morning America with the Talent Unlimited Chorus before moving to Texas and earning the 1st Chair Bass 2 position in the TMEA competition, earning him several scholarships to study classical and opera. 

 

While studying opera, he realized his passion was contemporary music (songwriting, production and business) and transferred to Berklee College of Music. There, he’d perform with Bootsy Collins, Patrice Rushen, Michael McDonald, the late John Blackwell Jr., Bobby McFerrin and many others while earning his degree in Music Business. 

 

Along with teaching at Zumix, Brandon teaches at a middle school through Young Audiences, privately around the city while also performing with JHB (John Hanifin Band), Honey Train Music Services (Weddings & Corporate) and at church with the New Roads Worship Team. 

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Brian Paulding
Brass Instructor

Brian Paulding, Brass Instructor, is a music enthusiast with passion for and experience in many diverse aspects of the music industry. A seasoned performer and dedicated educator, he is committed to fostering children's talents and love for music through the music they listen to and enjoy. Brian graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Entrepreneurial Music Business/Management and an Africana Studies minor in 2011, and currently plays trombone with several reggae and hip-hop bands including Endangered Speeches, Toussaint the Liberator, and Shango Axe. He has performed at Sugarloaf Reggae Festival (ME), Beantown Jazz Fest, Cocoa Beach Reggae Festival (FL), and the Blue Note (NYC), and has had the opportunity to share the stage with Burt Bacharach, Fred Wesley, Everton Blender, and Oddisee. Brian now lives in Jamaica Plain where he writes and records his original music. In addition to trombone and trumpet, Brian also plays a bit of keyboards and percussion.

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Jenny Shulman
Director of Operations

Jenny Shulman, Director of Operations, joined Zumix in 2012 after 3 years of working as a Program Advisor for an international volunteering organization.  For the last 6 years, she worked in many developing countries, establishing community-based service learning programs for volunteer educators, health providers, and care workers.  She also developed and implemented a cross-cultural training curriculum for volunteers, conducted capacity-building workshops, and was responsible for organizational growth and change.  
For her Master’s Degree, Jenny worked with the civil organization, Acortar Distancias in Guadalajara, Mexico, teaching theatre and improvisation to at-risk youth.  Jenny previously worked as a casting director in New York City for 7 years, casting independent films, music videos, commercials, and voice-overs.  Jenny holds an MA in International Development from La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and University of Sussex, Roehampton in London and a BFA in Drama with a concentration in Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  She has lived and worked in Thailand, Mexico, London, Ghana, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Mongolia, and Nepal.

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Brittany Thomas
Director of Creative Media and Technology

Brittany Thomas, Director of Creative Media + Technology, joined ZUMIX in 2014 and led ZUMIX Radio to its launch on the airwaves at 94.9FM.  She loves every weird conversation that happens in the radio studio and the new connections it builds between people.  As a LocaloreLIVE grantee, Brittany designed a collaborative narrative project, Constelación de Historias, creating live storytelling events to document and connect neighbors' work for housing justice in East Boston. Brittany has facilitated youth media production as a fellow for the Boston Public Health Commission, and currently serves on the advisory board for the Center for Cooperative Development and Solidarity -- a grassroots organization supporting worker-owned cooperatives in East Boston.  Brittany grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from Middlebury College with a BA in International Politics and Economics. Her spirit instrument is a saxophone. 

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Kassandra Otero
Radio Instructor & Mentor

Kassandra Otero, Radio Instructor & Mentor, is a ZUMIX alumnus who first participated in ZUMIX's Street Program in 2007. She enjoyed making music, but after taking the Radio Active class, she fell completely in love with being on the air. She has taken classes at Bunker Hill Community College and is currently studying Audio Production at the New England Institute of Art. In addition to co-teaching ZUMIX's Radio Active class, she engineers the show "Boston Seniors Count," mentors new youth shows, and hosts her own show, "Total Underground."

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Richie Carvalho
Radio Production Assistant

Richie Carvalho, Radio Production Assistant, has been putting the "rad" in radio since 2006, when he first started taking programs at ZUMIX. He has taken Radio Journalism and Radio Drama, and continues to host his own show, "Zone Out." He currently mentors several youth shows and makes sure that pre-recorded shows stream on ZUMIX Radio during times when ZUMIX is closed. Richie is a graduate of The Connecticut School of Broadcasting. In his free time, Richie enjoys karaoke!

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Omar Sosa
Administrative Assistant and Teaching Artist

Omar Sosa started coming to ZUMIX as a participant in 1999 at the age of 6. He started off taking guitar lessons with Leo and then continued to participate in more and more programs including Diversity Band, Street Program, The ZUMIX Vocal Choir, The ZUMIX Jazz Ensemble, and various other programs throughout the years. Through his involvement with ZUMIX and the Berklee City Music Programs he was awarded a full tuition scholarship in 2011 to attend Berklee College of Music and graduated from there in 2015 with a Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Composition. He is now working at ZUMIX as an Administrative Assistand and Teaching Artist, and continuing to gig throughout the Boston area with various bands including his own 7-piece band, Pangea.

 

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Sarah Saydun
Pathways Manager

Sarah comes to ZUMIX with a BA in Human Services and International Affairs from Northeastern University, and over four years of experience working in positive youth development. She has lived and worked in India, where she strengthened international aid efforts in a small town; Paris, where she led the expansion of a Boston-based grassroots social entrepreneurship and youth development organization; and Boston, helping develop a hip hop program for teens in Cambridge and teaching self-defense and healthy life skills to young women in Dorchester. Sarah is driven by the amazing things teens can do when given the opportunity to find their own voice. Her own experience with the power of music began when her freshman year English teacher gave her a mixed CD of his favorite Pixies songs, and you can probably find her making mixed CDs for her own students in her spare time.

Avi Salloway
Live Sound Service Coordinator

Avi Salloway is a musician, activist, and educator based in Cambridge, MA. He grew up learning music directly from American folk legends, Pete and John Seeger, and from an early age, was exposed to the power of music to bring people together. This concept resonates deeply with Avi and has lead him to use music as a kinetic form of expression, connecting people around the globe. He is the bandleader and principle songwriter for Billy Wylder. From 2013-16 Avi toured worldwide with Bombino, the Tuareg guitar virtuoso from Niger, Africa. Since graduating from the University of Vermont in 2007, Avi has co-written, produced, and recorded on 11 albums and performed over 1000 concerts in 25 countries around the world, including performances at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Fest, Newport Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. He has also collaborated and performed with renowned artists including Jack Johnson, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Low Anthem, and Pete Seeger.

 

Avi serves as the Global Ambassador for Heartbeat, the Jerusalem based non-profit organization that unites Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to develop critical awareness and harness music’s power to transform conflict. While working in the Middle East, he facilitated music workshops, writing, and recording projects and then established Heartbeat’s international touring platform, activating tens of thousands of new allies across North America and Europe. He believes in the power of music, art, and education to help create an equitable, just world and is proud to be a part of the Zumix family.

 

www.billywylder.com (617) 568-9777 x118 avi [dot] salloway [at] zumix [dot] org

 

Rene Dongo
Radio Station Manager

 

Rene Dongo, Radio Station Manager, joined ZUMIX in 2017. As a filmmaker, media maker and teaching artist he has found the intersection of community and youth arts education to be a pivotal step to helping young people grow and find their voice in the communities they live and learn in. At ZUMIX he works to support community and youth produced radio programming.

 

Outside of ZUMIX Rene has worked as a teaching artist for the ICA’s Fast Forward video program which offers a year long program dedicated to serving teens interested in filmmaking and also at the Urbano Project as part of a duo of teaching artists focused on crafting radio pieces centered on spoken word poetry inspired by the community of Egleston Square. He is a graduate of Emerson College and is currently working on creating more work using different mediums between radio and video production. 

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Nikala Pieroni
Development & Communications Manager

Nikala joined the team in August 2017. Nikala is a recent graduate of Clark University in Worcester with her Undergraduate in International Development and Social Change, and her Graduate in Professional Communications. She loves being part of multi-cultural spaces. She was the president of her school's Student Action for Refugee's club, and worked at Clark's Community Engagement office. 

 
Nikala has always been interested in the arts. Growing up, she was constantly in musical theatre productions, and took multiple years of singing lessons. She has also taken painting and pottery classes, and is always looking for new ways to explore her artistic side! While Nikala has lived in Massachusetts for the past five years, she is a proud Pacific North Westerner, growing up in Washington State. 
Kimberly Dawson
Director of Advancement

For over 15 years, Kim has been working in the arts as an artist, educator, administrator, and humanitarian. She is thrilled to be rejoining ZUMIX (after serving as Program Director from 2009-2012) as the new Director of Advancement and hopes her experience in nonprofit management, dedication to creative youth development, and passion for music can help serve the organization and the community of East Boston. Her past work has taken her to multiple cities and has included serving in leadership roles for two local arts organizations, founding and managing an independent theater company, teaching theater, facilitating workshops focused on building literacy through art­making, and performing as a professional actress. In 2013, she was recognized as a Citizen Artist Scholar at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Kim holds a BFA in Acting from Boston University and a Masters degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University.  However, her biggest accomplishment is her family, especially her sassy and sweet young daughter (cue sappy music).

Ben Paulding
Percussion Instructor

Ben Paulding is an American percussionist who extensively lived in Kumasi, Ghana, where he had over 200 performances with the Centre for National Culture and the Nsuase Kete Group. An active performing musician, he currently plays drums/percussion in Kotoko Brass, Air Congo, the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, and the Ahenema Cultural Group (NYC). Ben teaches music at Brandeis University, Inspire Arts and Music, and Zumix, and is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team.

 

His recent publications include the article “Meter, Feel, and Phrasing in West African Bell Patterns” in African Music (2017), the book chapter “Kete for the International Percussion Community” in Discourses in African Musicology: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift (U. of Michigan & U. of Ghana, 2015), and the article “Kete for Drumset: Left-Foot Bell Approach” in Rhythm! Scene (2014). Recent conference presentations include Percussive Arts Society International Convention (2015), Analytical Approaches to World Music (2016), and Northeastern Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (2017). Ben holds his MA in Ethnomusicology from Tufts University, where he studied with David Locke and Attah Poku, and his BA in World Music from UMASS Dartmouth, where he trained with Royal Hartigan and Kwabena Boateng.

Jimmy Hughes
Z-Tech Fix-It Instructor
Jesse Epstein
Z-Tech Video Production Coordinator
Jake Gilman
Events Coordinator

Jake Gilman joined the team in June 2018 with a background in event planning and music production. He graduated with a B.S. from Northeastern University, studying Music Industry and Philosophy. Jake has been producing for over 8 years, and organizing events in both Boston and Los Angeles since early 2015. He currently runs a monthly, beat-focused show series in Boston called Nightworks, and is actively involved in Boston’s hip-hop and arts community. Jake’s enthusiasm for music and live shows pours into the events he plans, and he is excited to be taking the lead on planning ZUMiX events like the Summer Concert Series and Annual Radio Block Party. He thrives off creating experiences that fuel people with inspiration and togetherness, and feels passionate about ZUMiX’s mission and commitment to youth development. Jake also creates progressive instrumental hip-hop under the moniker Rah Zen, and was honored by Passion of the Weiss on their Best Albums of 2017 list for his debut LP, Midnight Satori.

Edward Emerson
Creative Tech Manager

W.J. Edward Emerson, Creative Tech Manager, is a Boston based drummer and audio engineer.  Not originally from here, he moved to Boston in 2008 to pursue a Bachelors in Performance and Music Production and Engineering at Berklee College of Music.  After graduating he went to on work as an engineer at several of Boston’s historic  venues, like the Regatta Bar.  There, he has a worked with a diverse array of performers; from mixing monitors for singer, James Bay, or rap duo, Run the Jewels, to mixing front of house for jazz legends like Ron Carter, Wayne Krantz, and Kenny Garret, in addition to drumming for seminal artists like Simon Shaheen, Mulatu Astatke, and Masary Studios.  Since joining Zumix in 2019, he continues to play drums for Kina Zoré, a Mozambican band that performs throughout New England.

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez
Guitar and Sprouts Instructor

Christopher Lee-Rodriguez, Guitar and Sprouts Instructor, is a musician, songwriter, and educator. He graduated summa cum laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music with a B.A. degree in Music Education. Chris has spent the past five years teaching music through different nonprofits and school systems in both Massachusetts and New York. Some of these organizations include ZUMIX in East Boston, Highbridge Voices in the Bronx, and Midori & Friends in Harlem. Chris has also toured the country and internationally performing with his band, Really From (formerly known as People Like You), and has released their critically acclaimed album, “Verse,” through Topshelf Records. His philosophy as a musician and an educator is that teaching music is the ultimate tool for social change and development because it gives students the opportunity to transform into the greatest version of themselves. "

 
Will Rodriguez
Drumming Instructor

William Rodriguez is a professional drummer and educator who currently lives in the Boston. He was self taught at age 9 and then became more involved in the music department in his hometown of Freeport, Long Island. After high school he attended Berklee College of Music for four years. Being heavily involved in the Berklee community, he was also a Berklee city music mentor for two years teaching drum lessons as a volunteer. Currently he is the drummer for local Boston folk/rock band The Wolff Sisters. He has been with with them for 2 years and is featured on their  album Cahoon Hollow. They were also nominated for Folk Artist of the year of 2018 at the Boston Music Awards.  William continues to perform all over the New England area with The Wolff Sisters and with various bands in the area. He believes that with passion, patience, and perseverance his students can reach their highest achievements in music and in life. 

Kadahj Bennett
Instrumental Music Manager

Kadahj Bennett is an award-winning actor, educator and performer in the Boston area. Bennett has been a Teaching Artist in the community for the past 7 years with organizations such as Company One Theater, Actors Shakespeare Project and College Bound at Boston College. Bennett is a Luminary Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and an Artist in Residence with the Freshman Arts Program at Harvard University. Kadahj works on stage, screen, in galleries and classrooms alike and is stoked to be back at Zumix. Bennett is an alum and has been involved in the Zumix community since 2003. With programs like Street Program or Beatmakers, Kadahj gained the tools to empower his own music career. As frontman and writer for the Downbeat Keys, a brooklyn-based neon soul collective, Kadahj has toured SXSW, the east coast college circuit and shared a bill with Bon Jovi at the Best Buy Center in Times Square. His current Boston based Berklee band, Dancelujah, brings electronic hip hop soul to the city's music scene. A graduate of the Boston Arts Academy and recipient the Posse scholarship to Hamilton College, Kadahj is looking to cultivate more young creators of color to tell their stories.