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Dubbed "One of the Hottest Fundraisers in Town," Encore Gala Nets $380,000 for BCM Scholarships

Hundreds of friends of Berklee filled the Harvard Club on October 21 to participate in what the Boston Globe referred to as "one of the hottest fundraisers in town." In its sixth year, the Encore Gala has become Berklee's premier musical event of the year. The 2000 gala raised $380,000 for scholarships for Berklee City Music (BCM), the college's outreach program for talented urban youth. BCM helps to keep aspiring musicians in high school and prepares them for a college education through mentoring, a summer performance program, and the City Music Saturday program.

The Berklee Tower of Power Ensemble packed them in at the Harvard Club
Photos by Bob Kramer
 

More than 100 faculty and student musicians joined forces at the Harvard Club in nine night club settings, creating some unforgettable musical moments for dancing and listening audiences. Singer/songwriter Livingston Taylor made a special guest appearance, captivating the crowd in the Superstar Ballroom. The gala also featured legendary keyboardist and record producer Al Kooper with an all-star faculty blues band, and outstanding vocal performances by Donna McElroy, Maggie Scott, and Nancy Morris.

From the left: Board of Trustees Chair Will Davis and wife Jessica with Schwab Capital Markets V.P. Jim Leonard, his wife Elizabeth, and Berklee Trustee Phoebe Milligan and her husband Charles
 
Musical chairs: From the left, trustees Allan McLean and Scott Benson, who served as gala cochairs, with Susan and Lee Eliot Berk, who acted as the gala's honorary cochairs
 
Vocalists John Campbell and Rhea Dummett fronting the Berklee Jazz-Rock Ensemble in the Superstar Ballroom

The Berklee Tower of Power Ensemble led by Wayne Naus and Lin Biviano's Urban Outreach Big Band kept everyone dancing until midnight, while the Berklee Jazz-Rock Ensemble, directed by Ken Zambello, had the audience singing along in the Superstar Ballroom. Berklee's City Music System 5 Ensemble showcased the incredible young talent of participants in the BCM program. Phil Wilson's Berklee Rainbow Band, one of the top student ensembles at Berklee, performed chestnuts from the big band repertoire. The World Music Gallery featured traditional Puerto Rican and Peruvian music, while classical, jazz, and folk ensembles performed in various rooms throughout the evening.

Berklee trustee Don Rose and his wife, Nina Simonds, chaired the silent auction. Always an area of interest, the auction raised close to $60,000. Among the noteworthy items on the auction block were a Yamaha Disklavier GranTouch Piano, Billy Joel's personal Korg Triton keyboard, vacations on Mustique and in an Irish castle, a private concert by vibist Gary Burton and pianist Makoto Ozone, limited edition prints made by David Bowie of his wife Iman, silver-level tickets and post-party passes to the Grammy Awards, and more.

Schwab Capital Markets sponsored the gala for the third year in a row as part of their commitment to forming educational partnerships that benefit local communities. Jim Leonard, senior vice president of Schwab Capital Markets, said, "Sponsoring the Encore Gala has given Schwab Capital Markets an opportunity to support music education for inner-city youth through the Berklee City Music program. Schwab Capital Markets is proud of its extended partnership with Berklee and long standing tradition of giving back to the community."

Berklee trustees Scott Benson and Allan McLean served as cochairs of the Encore Gala and also nightclub sponsors. President Lee Eliot Berk and his wife Susan served as honorary co-chairs. Berklee trustee Mike Dreese was the program book chair.

Gala Superstar Ballroom sponsors included Newbury Comics and XOFF Records. Other gala nightclub sponsors included Acme Building Services, ARAMARK Campus Services, Ascent Venture Partners, Tim Collins, Will and Jessica Davis, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Essex Investment Management Company LLC, Gabelli Asset Management, Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Company, Longwood Security Services, Beth and Bill Lynch, MBNA New England, Allan and Mary Ann McLean, Payton Construction Corporation, Piano Forte, Bill and Tia Van Loan, and the Van Otterloo family.

After it was all over, gala cochair and Berklee Trustee Allan McLean stated, "The gala has once again proven to be a tremendous success. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves and at the same time contributed to a very worthy cause."