Steven Strunk ’63 of Washington, D.C., died on February 20. He was 68. From 1973 until the time of his death, Strunk was a professor of music theory and composition in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America. He was also a performing jazz pianist in the Washington, D.C., area and elsewhere. Strunk is survived by his wife, Elena; son, Kurt G. Strunk; daughter, Nica B. Strunk; and three grandsons.
Saxophonist Byard Lancaster ’64 of Philadelphia, PA, died of cancer on August 23. He was 70. Lancaster launched his career in New York playing with drummer Sunny Murray and trumpeter Bill Dixon. He released his debut album It’s Not Up to Us in 1968. He last worked with Sun Ra’s Arkestra, McCoy Tyner, and blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland. During the 1980s, he taught music in Jamaica and in the 1990s, in Lagos, Nigeria. He leaves daughters, Raquel Phelps, Marianne Lancaster, Alicia Lancaster-Silva and Faythaleggra Coleman; and sons, Brian Lancaster and Cash Byard Lancaster, as well as a sister and brother.
James George Jalbert ’49 of Glastonbury, CT, died on May 24. He was 82. In 1949, Jalbert enrolled at the Schillinger House (later renamed Berklee). He played piano with big bands before serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Jalbert played with such renowned musicians as Zoot Sims, Donald Byrd, Oscar Pettiford, J.J. Johnson, and others. He leaves a wife, children, and grandchildren.
Drummer Dustin Hengst ’96, of Eagle Lake, TX, died on December 9, 2011. He was 39. Hengst was the drummer for several acts, including Bleu and the band Damone. Based in Waltham, MA, Damone was active from 2002 to 2008 and was signed to RCA and Island Records.
John Scott Henderson ’78 died on June 25. He was 53. He was an accomplished jazz guitarist who played extensively in the Louisville, KY, region. Henderson performed with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati symphonies, numerous musical theater productions, and taught hundreds of students over the course of 30 years as an instructor with the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and in private instruction.
Larry Forand of Palm Beach, FL, died on April 19. He was 88. A former contributing professor at Berklee, Forand was also a respected trumpeter, music educator, and academic administrator in Massachusetts and Florida. As a performer, he toured with acts such as Tony Bennett, Diana Ross, Bobby Darin, and Johnny Mathis. He is survived by his wife, Norma; brother, Norman; daughters, Michele and Denise, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Vail Cerullo ’11 died on June 18. He was 20. Originally from South Miami, FL, Cerullo attended Berklee as a vocal principal after graduating from the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. In addition to his parents, William W. and Lisabeth Marie (Belinn) Cerullo, he is survived by his sister, Casey, and brother, Jake; stepfather, Michael Schina; stepmother, Libby Cerullo; and stepbrothers, Zachary and Dominic Finkel.
Rick Britto ’76 of New Bedford, MA, passed away on August 7. He was 57. Since 1997, Britto had been a faculty member at Wheaton College and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He gave private lessons in piano and saxophone and taught numerous ensembles and classes in jazz theory and African-American music history. Britto also owned the record label TrineArc Music as well as Saurus Studio, where he produced a variety of radio, television, and digital projects. He is survived by his mother, Evelyn C. (Fermino) Britto, and his life partner, Kathy Crowley.
Teal Barns ’09 of San Francisco, CA, died on August 19. She was 22. A native of the Adirondack region, she appeared in shows in off-Broadway theaters, county fairs, and regional theaters such as the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. A vocalist and guitarist, Barnes relocated first to Austin, TX, and then California after attending Berklee. She worked as a field manager for Grassroots Campaigns Inc., and later for Workaway International.
Joseph A. Abate Jr. ’59 of Farmington, CT, died on August 9. He was 74. In addition to studying at Berklee, Abate attended Brown University, Central Connecticut State University, and Harvard University. He was the president and CEO of Tilcon Tomasso Inc., where he worked until his retirement in 2003. Abate was an avid guitarist who played with groups such as Suite Roc and First Class. In addition to his wife, Marie, Abate is survived by his son, Dr. Joseph A. Abate III; daughters, Lynne Gagliardi, Joanne Couceiro, and Kristen Daigle; and numerous grandchildren.