Contemporary percussionist, musical educator, and activist Marcus Santos is a native of Bahia, Brazil. Having been raised in the uniquely rich African-influenced culture of Bahia, Santos has passionately committed his life to the study, preservation, and teaching of Afro-Brazilian music and heritage. His dedication to this cause has earned him a variety of opportunities and international success. After first studying music and business at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, Marcus obtained a scholarship to Fenway Alliance Member Institution Berklee College of Music, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in the performance of hand percussion, as well as the Outstanding Musician and Community Service through Music awards. Marcus was later awarded the 2013 KOSA Recognition award, the 2008 Outstanding Arts Performer award from the Brazilian Immigrant Center, and endorsements from the world renowned names in percussion Vic Firth, Latin Percussion, and Cooperman Frame Drums.
A Musical Movement
In 2004, Marcus founded Grooversity (groove + diversity); an innovative global drumming network that includes twenty four drumming groups from the USA in Massachusetts, Ohio, Philadelphia, Colorado, and Arizona, as well as Canada, Germany, Mexico, and France. After growing up in Brazil in such a rich musical climate, Marcus saw a need to engage communities in the US with music. Particularly, Marcus was passionate about injecting social relevance into his own musical practice by injecting music into communities where the arts are often under-funded and forgotten. The goal of Grooversity is to promote Afro-Brazilian percussion as an educational resource, a source of entertainment, and a catalyst for social change. Grooversity focuses on community outreach for positive outcomes in global diversity, physical and mental wellness, civil rights, participant and audience self-esteem, and most importantly according to Marcus, “enjoyment!”

The Grooversity musical repertoire is based on Marcus’s original percussion compositions, which combine traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms with infusions of world-music and a modern approach. By design, Grooversity’s performances hold equally important roles for percussionists of every level of experience and ability. “Some patterns are intricate and challenging for the most experienced professional drummer, and others are simpler yet equally important patterns for the amateur player. In fact, the simplest patterns are the most important components of the ensemble because they keep the other elements together.”

For 19 years, Marcus has collaborated with the Fenway Alliance by bringing Afro-Brazillian percussion groups (that we now know as Grooversity) to our annual Opening Our Doors festival. Each year, Marcus and Grooversity stand out as an overwhelming crowd favorite. The energy, enthusiasm, and life Marcus is able to bring to our audiences is truly unmatched. "I’ll never forget, 19 years ago at our very first festival, he called me out by name to dance," recalls Fenway Alliance director Kelly Brilliant, "I don’t dance in public. But there's something about Marcus's sincerity of spirit that is impossible to say no to. Not only did I get up and dance in public, I loved it. If joy were a person, its name would be Marcus Santos."
An Illustrious Career
Marcus Santos has performed with several world renowned artists such as: the Gipsy Kings (France), 10-time Grammy Award–winner Paquito D'Rivera (Cuba), Daniela Mercury (Brazil), the Brand New Heavies (England), and more. In 2001, Santos was featured on Mambolada's Larica Maria , which sold more than 100,000 copies in Brazil alone. Santos also toured Italy with Grammy-nominee Osvaldo Golijov for his show La Pasion. In July 2007, Santos taught and led a parading group of 300 drummers in Cleveland, Ohio, alongside Paul Simon’s percussionist, Jamey Haddad.

Over the course of his career, Marcus has performed at various international venues such as Hard Rock Café (Orlando, U.S.), Kouen Mae Dori Classics (Tokyo, Japan), Rock in Rio (Brazil), Buddha (Mexico), Lincoln Center (New York, U.S.), Blend (Honduras), Parco della Musica (Rome, Italy), Holland Festival (Amsterdam, Holland), and the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, U.S.). He has also been featured in multiple film and television productions on networks such as NBC and MTV. In 2008, Santos performed alongside Cyro Baptista in the Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married under the direction of Oscar–winning director Jonathan Demme. View Marcus's performance in the film here!

Marcus also spends ample time in an educational role. He has authored texts on Afro-Brazilian musical techniques, such as The Modern Approach to Pandeiro. He has also taught classes and led workshops on Afro-Brazilian Percussion and using music for social change in festivals, universities, and conventions around the world such as: Fiesta Del Tambor (Cuba), Carnegie Hall (NYC), the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Drum Talk 2007 (Pittsburgh), Harvard University, MIT, Fenway Alliance member Berklee College of Music, Brown University, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Nagoya University (Japan), Cultural Institute Brazil, various TEDx events, Fenway Alliance member New England Conservatory, Middlesex Community College, and Somerville High School.
Keep Up With Marcus!
Despite the pandemic's limitations on in-person performances from Grooversity, there are still many ways to experience Marcus's work online. Marcus recently launched Grooversity TV, a virtual platform where subscribers can find percussion lessons, play-alongs, interviews, and discussions for all levels of drumming experience. In addition, there are also videos covering the benefits of drumming for wellness and guided practices with mindfulness goals. Soon, Marcus will transition the service to app-format.

Marcus's next goals surround a further exploration into the positive impacts of music on mental health. Follow his journey on his Facebook page and Instagram.
NEC Student Advocates for National Parks Through New Music Project
Pianist Amir Siraj, who is enrolled in New England Conservatory's dual enrollment program with Harvard studying astrophysics and concert piano, was featured by the National Parks Service for his new project, Music For The Parks. This music video series, launched this week, features newly commissioned compositions based on the majesty of U.S. National Parks, using the power of music to advocate for the preservation of the National Parks. Amir won a From the Top Alumni Leadership Grant for this project, which is also supported by Steinway & Sons.
Welcome Back, NEC!
New England Conservatory will be welcoming students and faculty back to campus for the fall semester. Teams across the conservatory have worked over the last several weeks to develop and refine plans for a fall semester that will maintain NEC's standards of artistic and academic excellence while offering significantly increased flexibility and agency to students. NEC is posting updates on this reopening plan on a biweekly basis. You can view details of the reopening plan by clicking the button below.
Finegold Alexander Architects is a design collective focused on creating architecture for public, private and mission driven organizations. Finegold Alexander shapes each project around their central belief that the future of the planet depends on sustainable, interdisciplinary, and collaborative achievements. Each project, be it new construction or renovation, is integrated into its physical, cultural, and environmental contexts.
Lowell Justice Center
Finegold Alexander recently completed the new Lowell Justice Center, located at the Northern edge of the Hamilton Canal District within the Lowell National Historic Park. The Justice Center was designed to create a welcoming and calming environment, featuring generous natural daylight, warm finishes, and public art that reflects the diverse history and culture of Lowell. The lobby was designed by UK artist Martin Donlin and features symbols of justice, recalls Lowell’s historic “mills girls," embraces the city’s new industries, and features text in four languages. The project originally began with a certifiable building study, one of Massachusetts’ largest Zero Net Energy initiatives. The design of the courthouse maximizes energy efficiency and is expected to achieve a LEED-platinum certification. Its orientation on the site, landscape features, glazing, highly insulated walls, and state-of-the-art mechanical and lighting systems all work together to help the center perform 40% more efficiently than code.

Learn more about this project at here!
Digital Ready Program
Finegold Alexander Architects participated in the virtual Digital Ready program which aims to introduce architecture to high school students who are underrepresented in the profession. Finegold Alexander sponsored a Boston high school student this summer who shadowed firm members in project meetings and in other office activities to learn the day-to-day work of an architectural office. Design Manager Özge Diler Himes met weekly with the student to help develop their digital portfolio and discuss precedent projects to inspire studio projects. Additional firm members provided insights into their career journeys with the student, engaging meaningful conversations about the many ways one can pursue career in architecture and design. Finegold Alexander plans to continue this partnership and looks forward to introducing more young, underrepresented students to architecture.

Learn more about Digital Ready here.
Fenway Porchfest
"(Love That) Muddy River" MUSIC VIDEO
We are delighted to share an uplifting project that celebrates the Fenway Cultural District, local Boston musicians + producers, neighborhood organizations, & the Fenway community. The 4 minute music video reimagines a classic ode to Boston, "Dirty Water" by The Standells, for COVID times! 
Since 2018, the Fenway Alliance, Fenway Civic Association, and the Fenway Community Development Corporation have brought Fenway Porchfest to the Fenway neighborhood each June.

This year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and city and state government restriction around in-person gatherings, the 3rd annual Fenway Porchfest has had to adjust course for 2020 with a new creative twist, keeping the event's spirit alive and well. To honor Fenway Porchfest 2020, and to celebrate our musicians, site partners, and the Fenway community -- we have partnered with Porchfest musical collaborators on an exciting Fenway Porchfest music video. Watch the video for "(Love That) Muddy River" here. It was our intention to showcase what makes the Fenway neighborhood so special.
Our deepest thanks to the musician collaborators who worked with us to bring this project to fruition. In particular, we want to thank our producing partners - Eva Sita, Red Shaydez and International Show for all of their work on this project -- we could not have pulled it off without their enthusiasm and expertise. We also want to thank all of our site partners, our generous sponsors, and of course all the wonderful musicians that give so freely of their time, efforts, and musical creativity over the last 3 years of Fenway Porchfest!

Please click the button below for a full list of participating institutions, businesses, sponsors, community members, and musicians. We thank you and look forward to when we can come together for the next Fenway Porchfest! 
Simmons University
Introducing President Lynn Perry Wooten
"I have a strong desire to be an inclusive leader. When you grow up being different in society, you go out of your way to include people from all different types of backgrounds and experiences, to learn from them, to celebrate from them, and to make sure they feel that they belong."
Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten became the ninth president and first African American to lead Simmons University on July 1, 2020. Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership, Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator. Below are some introductory thoughts from President Wooten on entering her new role as the head of Simmons University in such an unprecedented time.

On the current movement for racial equality:
“My entire life journey has prepared me for the conversation on race. I came into this world in the ’60s, at the height of the civil rights movement. I went to a historically Black college. Thinking about race and America’s celebration and struggle with it was embedded in me during my formative years. For the last 25 years, my research, teaching, and speaking engagements have centered on what I call the ABCs for diversity, equity, and inclusion: Affirming an organization’s identity and understanding the demographics; building bridges across differences and fighting against the “isms,” such as racism and sexism; and cultivating capabilities with organizations so they can succeed at diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

On the pandemic:
“Two key things have prepared me for the pandemic: my focus on learning and my focus on relationships. The last three to four months have emphasized the importance of both. We’ve had to adapt and be agile with how we run universities and pursue excellence. How do we use data and theory? How do we create spaces where people feel physically and emotionally well and are able to get their work done? The pandemic has also given us opportunities to reimagine and invest more in relationships, especially through technology.”
Berklee College of Music + ICA Boston: Harborwalk Sounds
The ICA’s annual summer concert series Harborwalk Sounds is going virtual with a series of online events created in collaboration with Fenway Alliance member Berklee College of Music. Every Thursday in August enjoy a concert from home featuring Berklee’s best and brightest. With performances spanning from R&B to pop and Latin to soul, Berklee’s talented musicians will bring the party right to your door.
Thursday August 20, 7pm-8pm: The Thistle Brothers

Cameron and Devin of The Thistle Brothers are a brotherly duo making music for a cause. Each single that they release is connected to an organization that helps to make the world a better place, and the money made from the singles (through streams, purchases and donations) is sent to the organizations. They hope that their music can not only please the ears of their listeners, but also help to make the world a better place alongside the organizations that their music is connected with.
Thursday August 27, 7pm-8pm: Nia Ashleigh

Nia Ashleigh is a singer, actor, and dancer from Newark, New Jersey. Nia has been in the production of Disney’s The Lion King as Young Nala in both the Las Vegas and Broadway Companies for two years. She has since become a three time National YoungArts Winner and has performed on the stages of NJPAC and Lincoln Center.
The Boston Resiliency Fund Boston's fundraising and philanthropic fund to provide essential services to Boston residents and to assist first responders and critical care providers.
The Boston Artist Relief Fund. The fund will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices & incomes are being adversely impacted.
The Boston Music Makers Relief Fund provides financial relief to Boston area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to $200 will be paid rapidly on a first come, first served basis.
Dorchester Art Project, run by Brain Arts Org, helps facilitate creative independence in systematically undervalued communities by providing affordable studio space to Dorchester- area artists.
Black and Pink Boston is a prison abolition group lead by and fighting alongside incarcerated queer and HIV+ people in Massachusetts.
Families for Justice as Healing leads advocacy to decarcerate women and girls in Massachusetts by organizing in the most incarcerated communities in the Commonwealth to transform the way communities respond to harm and develop alternatives to police, courts, and incarceration. 
Mass Action Against Police Brutality is a campaign to prosecute the police and jail those who are guilty, open all past cases of police brutality, and end the harassment of victims and witnesses.
Impact Lebanon is raising money for disaster relief after the explosion in Beirut. Impact Lebanon, a non-profit organization, aims to enable the Lebanese community to mobilize more effectively; share knowledge, resources, and expertise; and make activism accessible, impactful and sustainable for the Lebanese diaspora. 
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) is a healing justice organization committed to transforming mental health for queer and trans people of color (QTPoC). NQTTCN works to integrate healing justice into movements for social justice and the field of mental health to achieve its overall goal of increasing access to healing justice resources for QTPoC.
Follow the Fenway Alliance on Instagram and Facebook for timely updates from city of Boston, our community partners, and member institutions.