It's 5 p.m. on a Monday. The music room at Sociedad Latina
, at the corner of Tremont and Carmel Streets in the Mission Hill section of Roxbury, is deserted. Guitars hang on the walls next to paintings, which flank keyboards. It is totally silent until there is a knock on the door.
In walks Joshua, a seven-year-old neighborhood kid with a "Fast and the Furious" T-shirt and a huge smile.
"Is anyone here?" he asks.
At the sound of his voice, his teacher, 19-year-old Berklee College of Music
student Dalton Harts, comes out of the back room and welcomes Joshua to his drum lesson.
Technically, the lesson does not start until 5:30, but Joshua ignores the clock.
"I come early, I get more time," he says with a smirk.
Joshua is one of hundreds of children who frequent the music clubhouse at Sociedad
Latina, which offers lessons in guitar, piano, voice and drums, taught by Harts and other Berklee students through work-study programs. Workshops in beat making, lyric writing, music theory and reading are also offered in the club's state-of-the-art recording studio.
"When I first walked through the door here, I had no idea how many things they had going on," Harts said.
Sociedad Latina started as an after-school program offering homework help to area youth. Alexandra Oliver-Davila, executive director of Sociedad Latina, said that while the club focuses on creating the next generation of artists in the Latino community, children of all ethnicities are welcome.
She said some of the students had approached the administration and asked if the music offerings could be expanded to include a recording studio. The space was renovated four years ago to include a 1,400 square-foot structure that houses a recording studio, computer labs and instruments. Youth between the ages of 8 and 21 can join for a yearly fee of $125 and take advantage of the various programs."
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