Boston Alumni Rock the Hard Rock with Roger Brown
They're performers, producers, and engineers. Educators, video game composers, and sound designers. And they're choosing to infiltrate the New England music industry with their passion and talent. The Boston alumni community showed its strength in numbers when more than 200 area alumni attended a night of music-making and celebration at Hard Rock Cafe Boston on April 30.
"It’s often a surprise to people to learn just how many people we have here in the Boston area,” said Berklee president Roger H. Brown. “It’s more than L.A. or Nashville or New York. And it’s also a surprise how many of them are working in the music industry.”
Former presidential scholar Ayeisha Mathis '09 chose Boston over opportunities in L.A. and New York. Mathis, who thanked alumni for supporting scholarships like the one that enabled her to study at Berklee, is the music director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester and founder of Sound Doctrine Company, a theologically focused company providing educational performing arts program for inner-city youth and young adults.
Brown went on to highlight Berklee's achievements and forthcoming developments such as the 160 Mass. Ave. building, and then observed a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and praised Berklee employees who shepherded students through that crisis.
The celebration kicked up as Brown (on drums) joined Bass Department chair Steve Bailey, and iconic bassist John Pattitucci for a completely improvised performance. Bailey, for one, was impressed with Brown’s musicality, saying, “I’ve never known a president of anything who can groove...[Roger] was on me like a bee on honey. I kept going into different songs, and the more I’d do it, the more he’d react to it, which inspired me to go further.”
Ensemble Department assistant chair Sean Skeete ’04 also took a turn on drums with Bailey and Pattitucci before the group yielded the stage to a steady stream of Berklee alumni, who jammed for hours on the Hard Rock stage. Bailey may have been referring to the dialogue between Brown and the gathered alumni as much as the music when he said, “Listening is what takes it to another level, and makes it a real conversation rather than just people spouting ideas. That night was special in that it was musicians really communicating.”
Brown thanked the Alumni Affairs staff—alumnae Bev Tryon, Karen Bell, and Arielle Schwalm—for organizing the event, and looked forward to another Boston alumni gathering a year from now to celebrate the opening of the 160 Mass. Ave. building.