Berklee Today

Nashville Notes

  Dave Petrelli
  Dave Petrelli '05

Nashville summers traditionally bring heat, humidity, and a significant absence of Vanderbilt University students crowding your favorite local watering hole. For country music fans across the nation however, summer in Nashville also means a chance to meet and speak with their favorite stars.

The Country Music Association FanFest is a weeklong event featuring concerts, photo ops and autograph sessions intended to give fans a close-up look at the biggest acts in the industry today. On June 6, artist Chely Wright kicked off the week's festivities by hosting the sixth annual benefit for her charity organization, Reading Writing and Rhythm (RW&R). As RW&R's unofficial volunteer source, dozens of local Berklee alumni were on hand to ensure that the night was a success. Held at the famous Wildhorse Saloon on Second Avenue, the charity event featured acts like Bryan White, Little Big Town, Julie Roberts, and Wynona. Ultimately, more than $100,000 was raised to aid in the purchasing of instruments for public schools. "As always, Berklee Alumni have come through for us," said RW&R treasurer Char Daniels. "This is our major fundraiser to advance music education and help youngsters in need. The alumni all know how important music education is in the development of a student. Thank you for helping us!"

The months of July and August brought in a crop of recent Berklee graduates eager to make an impression on the music industry. Nashville newcomers James Harrington and Joseph Huettner, both 2006 graduates, have secured internships at EMI Christian Music Group and Dualtone Music, respectively.

Meanwhile, some Berklee mainstays in Nashville have also begun to enjoy expanding success. Singer/songwriter Laura Clapp '01 recently joined the ParMusic Group music publishing staff as the creative director. She will work in writer development and begin plugging the ParMusic Group catalog.

Finally, Nashville is the new home of one of the most exquisite and acclaimed symphony concert venues in the country. On September 9, the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center was officially unveiled and it's already being hailed as an architectural gem and an acoustical masterpiece. Berklee alum Pamela Roller '95 helped secure tickets for alumni to attend the Chick Corea and Gary Burton concert on October 13. It was one of the first public performances at this historic venue, and those attending were treated to a night of amazing music and catching up with old friends. We hope the evening at the Symphony Center will become an annual event. Who says Nashville is just for country music?

For information on the Nashville Alumni Chapter or to post an event in the next installment of Nashville Notes, contact me at That's all until next time.

That's all until next time.

-Dave Petrelli
Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter President