|Pictured is Pianist Kofi Boakye playing the melodica.|
|Photo courtesy of Shane Wynn Photography|
January 17, 2019
By Cassaundra Smith
WEST Akron — North Akron resident and pianist Kofi Boakye has been admitted to his dream College, and now a fundraiser has been planned Jan. 31 at The Tangier, 532 W. Market St., to help him make attending this school a reality.
According to Boakye, he has teamed up with Pritt Entertainment Group to create “Kofi: Made in Akron,” a short documentary film that showcases his life from growing up in the inner city of Akron to being accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston. ArtsNow Executive Director Nicole Mullet and Getta Kutuchief, outreach and education coordinator for the Summit County Juvenile Court, have teamed up with Boakye to co-host a documentary premiere and fundraising event. He has set up a tax-exempt 529 educational account to help pay for tuition — half of which will be taken care of with a scholarship — as well as living expenses.
Boakye, 19, recalls not exactly enjoying the first piano class he attended at the age of 8, a class filled with other beginners — “a bunch of 5-year-olds.” He had tried other activities, such as soccer and baseball, that just didn’t seem like a good fit. So he began taking lessons after his mom saw an ad for them, he said.
According to Boakye, what could have ended just as quickly as it began but didn’t, thanks to his piano teacher pulling him aside, letting him know she saw something in him and offering to give him private lessons. He’s been playing the piano ever since.
Boakye will attend Berklee in the fall and study music business and jazz. He said he found out he had been accepted into the college last March.
“It was a feeling of excitement and huge responsibility,” he said.
Boakye equates getting accepted to the school with a basketball player making it to the NBA or an aspiring lawyer gaining admission to Harvard University. A school like Berklee is hard to get into, he said. Attending the college will give him the opportunity to be around likeminded individuals, which he looks forward to.
“That’s the place I’m going to be able to grow,” he said.
According to event officials, at the age of 15, Kofi was accepted into The University of Akron (UA) School of Music’s Jazz Program, making him the youngest African-American pianist to ever be accepted into a collegiate-level jazz program at UA. In September 2016, Kofi performed at the Akron Civic Theatre, making him the first teen pianist to ever headline a show there, according to event officials.
Boakye has also toured Germany and Prague with the Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts Show Choir. He is a graduate of Akron Early College High School, where he was valedictorian and senior class president, according to his website.