Drummer Jerome Edgerton Awarded First Tupelo Award
Deadline for New Applications October 15
September 7, 2012
SHEFFIELD, MA—Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation today announced that Jerome Edgerton of Pittsfield, MA is the first recipient of the Tupelo Award. The Tupelo Award, a fund of Berkshire Taconic, offers individuals an opportunity to deepen and enrich an abiding passion or serious interest through study, travel, research and development of a specific project. The opportunity must be one that will broaden the applicant’s view of the world and expand his/her horizons. These grants are intended to make it possible for individuals to participate in an experience that will have significant potential to enrich the applicant’s life.
“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.
“At Berkshire Taconic, we work with donors from all walks of life to fulfill their charitable vision," said Maeve O'Dea, Program Director. "The Tupelo Award is a unique idea that opens doors for people that otherwise might remain closed. We were thrilled to begin awarding grants from this new fund and look forward to the difference this will make in people’s lives.”
Jerome’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 two and later was exposed to a variety of styles including African djembe drums, bucket drums as well as traditional drums. Early on, Jerome was mesmerized with the idea of using a household bucket to create the beats for which he is now known.
Jerome’s 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, Jerome studied African drumming with a master drummer. The project will conclude with a musical production entitled “Evolution of Rhythms”, which will take place on Saturday, October 27 at Barrington Stage Company, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA. 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 Jerome teaches as well as members of Youth Alive Step, Dance and Drumline.
“I really appreciate being chosen for the Tupelo Award,” said Jerome. “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.”
The next deadline for applications for the Tupelo Award is October 15, 2012. The fund will award up to $1,500 this year. Residents of the Berkshire Taconic region between the ages of 16 and 36 who demonstrate financial need and other sources of support for their chosen project are eligible. Applications are available online at 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.
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation celebrates 25 years of building stronger communities and helping donors make a difference through charitable giving in northwest Litchfield County, CT; Berkshire County, MA; and Columbia County and northeast Dutchess County, NY. Each year, the foundation distributes over $7 million through grants and scholarships to nonprofits and individuals in the arts and education, health and human services and environmental protection. Berkshire Taconic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity. You can make a difference. We can help.