Berklee Today

New York News

  Dave Petrelli
  From the left: David Wolpert, New York alumni chapter Cochair Ren Collins, Director of Alumni Affairs Karen Bell, Joel Beckerman, Loren Parkins, and Songwriter's Forum chair Brooke Fox after the June alumni event on writing music for television and advertising.

This summer our New York alumni have been strengthening the chapter from within. Songwriter's Forum chair Brooke Fox '98 and her husband Kurt Gellerstad set the trend by coordinating our June alumni event enitled, "The Creative Brief: Writing Music For Television and Advertising." Fox and Gellerstad were inspired to organize the event based on Gellerstad's experiences as an intern and junior writer at Man Made Music.

The discussion demystified one-page guidelines that composers who work in specialized, client-driven writing fields receive. Among the panelists was Joel Beckerman, executive producer at Man Made Music, whose credits include the Martha Stewart Show, ABC's The One, and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Fellow Man Made writer David Wolpert joined Beckerman and shared his experiences writing for television (The Chris Matthews Show main theme) and album tracks for major artists (Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, and Cher). Loren Parkins '81, executive music producer at the BBDO advertising agency, gave a presentation on the process of commissioning and selecting music for clients. Fox moderated the discussion.

Since then, additional alumni have come forward to plan an exciting lineup of future events. Alumnus Jason Vogel '88, will discuss the intersection between trademark and copyright law and the music industry. Vogel is an intellectual-property attorney who has handled trademark and copyright issues for Sony BMG, Apple Computer, EMI, Cartoon Network, and Miramax Films, as well as for artists such as Mariah Carey and Korn. Berklee New York Alumni Chapter President Lisa Hearns has invited her entertainment law contacts to speak alongside Vogel at the upcoming panel.

Susan Wybiral '89 has invited songwriter Jeff Franzel to speak to alumni about the songwriting process as it relates to pitching songs to artists and labels. Franzel has written hits for Taylor Dayne, 'NSYNC, Clay Aiken, and Christy Carlson Romano, among others. Stay tuned for the dates of these must-see events, which will be forthcoming in Berklee mailings and e-mails. Remember to register with Berklee online at http://alumni. to receive this information.

Contributions like these are what we need to keep the chapter growing and thriving. Thanks to those of you who have shared your accomplishments and knowledge with the Berklee community.

To find out how you can get involved in our chapter, contact us at, Lisa Hearns at, or Brooke Fox at We'd love to hear from you. Until then, see you around town!

-Ren Collins and Brooke Fox, New York Alumni Chapter coordinators