Berklee Today

Alumni Beat

  Karen Bell '90

We are well into the new year, and 2007 is already taking shape with plans for new events and opportunities for Berklee alumni. Check out the alumni website at for the latest updates.

Since my last column, there have been a few high notes I'd like to mention. Songwriter Makeba Riddick '99 shared her experiences during a clinic on September 27. She had six cuts on Beyonc?'s B'day album and has worked with many other well-known recording artists.

Another September event was the tremendously successful BeanTown Jazz Festival. It was a full weekend with lots of great music by amazing musicians. Berklee alumni Donald Harrison '81, Delfeayo Marsalis '89, Javon Jackson '87, Ellen O'Brien '85, Mike Tucker '06, Antonio Jackson '97, and Esperanza Spalding '05 were among the performers. For information on the 2007 festival or to see photos from last year's event, visit

On October 8, many alumni groups were featured on the Berklee Alumni Stage at the Oktoberfest in Harvard Square. The same day on the West Coast, alumnus Rodney Alejandro '97 received the distinguished alumni award at a reception held in coordination with the Audio Engineering Society Annual Conference in San Francisco.

After considering all applications for the 2006 alumni grant program, awards were given to 16 projects at the end of the year. Details about these projects will be posted on the alumni website this summer, along with applications for the 2007 alumni grants.

On October 26, Berklee's Music Therapy Department held an event including an alumni panel at the college to celebrate the department's 10th anniversary. On November 8, alumnus Rob Lewis '94 and his group the Movement Orchestra gave a clinic at the Berklee Performance Center. Lewis and company, who have worked with Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, and others, were spotlighted in an article in the Fall 2006 issue of Berklee today.

From the left: Berklee's Music Technology Dean Stephen Croes, MP&E Assistant Chair Dan Thompson '94, distinguished alumni award recipient Rodney Alejandro '97, and MP&E Chair Rob Jaczko '83 at the December alumni reception in San Francisco.  

Twins Jazz club on U Street in Washington, D.C., was the setting for a performance by the 2006 Berklee Monterey Quartet. Alumni from Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia turned out to hear these great young players. Alumni singer/songwriters and bands played at a showcase in Boston at Harpers Ferry on November 28. Plans are in the making for spring showcases at Harpers Ferry and in New York at the Cutting Room.

December started off on the right foot with Pat Pattison's songwriters workshop in San Francisco on December 3. Throughout the month, alumni marked the holiday season with gatherings on both coasts. Receptions were held at the Rive Gauche Cafe in Los Angeles, the William Davis Room at Berklee, and at Ludo in New York. On December 31, a set by Kendrick Oliver '95 and his New Life Jazz Orchestra was broadcast live from Berklee's David Friend Recital Hall on NPR's Toast of the Nation.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to attend an alumni event last year. At Berklee gatherings in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, we've seen increasing numbers of alumni. But some graduates are missing from our e-mail and postcard lists that announce upcoming Berklee events around the country. Please help us spread the word about what's going on. If your alumni friends aren't hearing from us, encourage them to contact me at We don't want to leave anyone out!

Finally, I'd like to express thanks to all the alumni who rose to our fundraising challenge during the fall phone-a-thon between October and December. Berklee students worked hard to reach out to you, and had a great opportunity to talk with Berklee alumni about their areas of interest and experiences. Thank you for being so respectful and encouraging to the students.

To date, 870 alumni have made a gift. We need the participation of 430 more by May 31 in order to receive a gift of $65,000 promised by alumnus Ernie Boch, Jr., '82 if 1,300 alumni make a gift of any size. If you haven't already made a donation, please consider joining in this effort.

I look forward to connecting with you in 2007. Take care!

-Karen Bell
Director of Alumni Affairs

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