DIME Detroit celebrates Detroit Music Weekend and the Graduating Class of 2018!

June 2018 has been packed with some of the most important moments in DIME Detroit’s history! On June 16th, we celebrated Detroit Music Weekend, and on June 17th, we graduated the second-ever class from DIME Detroit and Falmouth University. Read on to hear more about this historic weekend.

Detroit Music Weekend kicked off for DIME on Friday night when DIME graduating Senior, Charles Laster III (C3), performed as Michael Jackson at the Detroit Music Weekend Gala Evening Fundraiser, and received a standing ovation from the Jacksons, who were the guests of honor!


Charles Laster III as Michael Jackson


On Saturday, DIME opened its doors as an official stage for the Detroit Music Weekend. This free event, which honored the Jacksons, had stages all over the city and culminated with a show by the Jacksons at Music Hall. DIME kicked off a full day of performances with a set from DIME instructor Audra Kubat, followed by local singer-songwriter, Grace Lee. DIME graduating seniors then took to the stage in the Underground. There were awesome performances by C3, Sir Tommy Lee, Adventures with Vultures, and No Alarms.

DIME was also active at other stages across the city! DIME students Chris Terry, Brenda Montalbano played with musical collective with BAN/DJ, while Original 1265 artists Charity and A-Plus also performed on the Paradise Valley stage.





It was a particularly special day for DIME’s Managing Director, Sarah Clayman, whose journey in the music industry was shaped by formative experiences working on Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ tour in 1998, and ‘Dangerous’ tour in 1993.


DIME’s Managing Director, Sarah Clayman, with Michael Jackson in 1988 and 1993.

35403847_10160331555595580_2611398080846626816_nOn Sunday, we celebrated the graduation of second cohort of students at the Madison Building in Detroit’s downtown. Students processed through the streets before arriving at the Madison for photos.


DIME graduate procession


The ceremony featured speeches from DIME Detroit’s Managing Director, Sarah Clayman, President, Kevin Nixon, Institute Manager, Karl Middleton and Head of Education, Paul Schauert. Sarah praised the DIME graduates for their belief, self discipline, and risk taking telling  them, “you are beginning to change the way America views music in higher education.” Kevin echoed Sarah’s words, applauding the graduates for their commitment to modern music: “All of you have proved that you’re good enough to compete in one of the toughest areas of commercial art that you could possibly try for. Well done, you’re all good enough.”

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DIME was also honored to welcome guests from DIME’s validating partner, Falmouth University. Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Smith, presented awards, while Vice Chancellor, Anne Carlisle (Left), read the keynote speech. Professor Carlisle drew links between the entrepreneurial spirit shared by Falmouth University and DIME, and commended Sarah and Kevin for the “totally nurturing yet professionally authentic industry environment” they have created. She concluded her speech by congratulating the graduates and emphasizing the positive community they have joined: “In choosing DIME you didn’t just go to a university, you joined a real music community, bound together by musicians and industry professionals who share a love for this subject.”



The valedictorian honor was shared by two students this year: Max Bonilla and Angleo Coppola. Max made an emotional speech, which encouraged the audience to “live fearlessly”, and concluded with a heart-felt message to his fellow graduates: “My DIME family – I look forward to seeing all of your legends unfold. Because there are no if’s, there are only when’s.” Angelo (pictured below) also spoke about the close-knit community at DIME, thanking his classmates for their friendship and support: “We have pushed each other to be the best we can possibly be. We are part of an elite family now, the second ever graduating class of the Detroit Institute of Music Education. I truly couldn’t be any prouder than to walk with you all today.” Exciting times are in store for Max and Angelo. Max will soon be moving to LA to develop a video documentary series. Angelo will be staying local, having accepted a full-time position at independent music publisher and sync house North Star Media, based in Farmington Hills. You can also catch Angelo playing around the city with his band The Lows.


Angelo Coppola, DIME Valedictorian 2018

Everyone at DIME is exceptionally proud of these performers, songwriters, and entrepreneurs, who are the last students who will graduate with a Falmouth-validated degree. During their time at DIME, these students have blossomed into accomplished professionals, who are confident, experienced, and well prepared to embark on their careers in the music industry. A special shout-out goes to DIME drum student, Duane Hewins Jr., who turned 21 last week. To achieve a Bachelor’s degree before turning 21 is a remarkable achievement! Congratulations to Duane and to all of our other graduates!