Berklee Today

Tenth Annual Gala Raises $560,000 for BCM Scholarships

  Gala Celebrants
  (From the left): Malcolm MacLeod, BCM students Ashley Rodrigues, Tuffus Zimbabwe, Adonis Martin, and Emily Johnson, President Roger Brown and Assistant Vice President for Community and Governmental Affairs Curtis Warner at the 2004 Encore Gala
  Farnsworth Blalock photos

This year's Encore Gala welcomed Berklee's new president, Roger H. Brown, and his wife, Linda Mason, with the best of Boston's musical entertainment. The 10th annual mega party fundraiser, held October 30, 2004, raised $560,000 for scholarship to support the Berklee City Music (BCM) program.

This year's new venue, the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, was a huge hit. The Park Plaza is uniquely suited to showcase the Encore Gala's seven music rooms that featured the incredible talent of more than 100 Berklee students and faculty members. The exquisite ballroom at the Park Plaza made for an elegant dining experience for 900 guests prior to the beginning of musical festivities.

During dinner, President Brown gave a moving speech comparing the work of the BCM program to the efforts of benefactors such as the Karnofsky family, who made it possible for Louis Armstrong to have a music career by loaning him the money to buy his first cornet in 1907.

For the second year, William J. Lynch and Associates, Inc., was the Encore Gala's principal lead sponsor. Bright Horizons Family Solutions joined this year as colead sponsor.

To date, the Encore Gala has raised more than $3 million for BCM. The program has been a life-changing experience for the nearly 900 economically disadvantaged urban youth who have participated since 1991 in Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program and in the year-long college preparatory mentoring and after-school components of the program.

Malcolm MacLeod, president of the Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Foundation, provided a challenge to the audience. If Berklee is able to dramatically expand private support to Berklee City Music, the Johnson Foundation will invest nearly $2.25 million to expand the number of full-time scholarships to 11 per year.

As in past years, Al Kooper and the Funky Faculty (Bob Doezema, Tom Stein, Larry Finn, Jeff Stout, and Daryl Lowery) rocked the Blues Room for a large crowd of fans until midnight. The Salsa Club, showcasing the Berklee Salsa Ensemble, was another popular venue that took advantage of the great dance floor in the spacious Park Plaza Terrace Room. The Berklee a-Go-Go grooved to the sounds of Berklee's Tower of Power Ensemble and Lauren Passarelli's Beatle tribute band All Together Now. The World/Folk Music Room showcased the international flavor of the music of Brazil, Colombia, and Scotland. Maeve Gilchrist playing Celtic harp and up-and-coming folk singer Pauline Pisano were among the highlights. The Bijou Theatre featured some memorable classic film moments narrated by Professor Henry Augustine Tate. Also featured were Berklee's Urban Outreach Orchestra and the Rainbow Band in a salute to big-band music. The Great American Songbook spotlighted the best in jazz instrumental and vocal performances by faculty performers Darcel Wilson, Suzanna Sifter, and Donna McElroy with the Larry Monroe Sextet.

Superstar Ballroom sponsors included ARAMARK Campus Services, Newbury Comics, Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Thorbahn Associates.

Music room sponsors included Acordia, ARAMARK ServiceMaster Facility Services, Ascent Venture Partners, Barnes and Noble College Booksellers, Charles River Ventures, The Chickering Group, Cutler Associates, Digitas, Gabelli Asset Management, Inc., Hero's Stone Records, Longwood Security Services, Piano Forte, Rockefeller & Company, Inc., and Song airlines.