Berklee Today

Alumni Beat

  Karen Bell '90

After a great summer many of us wished didn't have to end, the new semester began with a flurry of orientation activities for new students and their parents.

On September 8, we held the first annual Berklee Opening Day event to gather together all Berklee employees and launch the new semester. It was an amazing sight. There was the entering student barbecue at Mother's Rest in the Fens, followed by the Entering Student Convocation with special guest Branford Marsalis '80 as the honorary degree recipient. The conclusion was a fantastic show featuring various returning students. The energy and excitement in anticipation of what the semester holds in store surged through the campus.

Before we close the door on the past academic year, I'd like to share some recent alumni event highlights. On May 1, Boston-area alumni gathered to hear the latest developments in the field of sound design from Kurt Biederwolf, chair of the Music Synthesis Department. A few weeks later, the campus was alive with excitement during graduation weekend May 12 and 13. Congratulations to the class of 2006, and welcome to the Berklee Alumni Community!

A New York Alumni showcase was held on May 30 at the Cutting Room. As always, thanks to Steve Walter '78, owner of the Cutting Room, for his generous support of Berklee and fellow alumni.

One of the high points of the summer was Berklee's first Alumni Chapter Leader Conference held in June.

From the left: Director of Alumni Affairs Karen Bell, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes '94, and Voice Department Chair Jan Shapiro at a July reception for Withers-Mendes at ASCAP in New York  

Hailing from locations across the country, chapter leaders spent two extremely long days on campus exchanging information on how they can improve their support efforts for their alumni peers. These volunteer leaders share their time and energy to keep alumni up to date on recent developments around the college and in the various quarters of the music industry and to share news about other members of the Berklee community.

Throughout June and July, Boston alumni attended several summer events such as concerts in Franklin Park and visiting artists clinics at the college. On June 27, New York alumni turned out to attend a clinic titled "The Creative Brief: Writing Music for Television and Advertising." On July 27, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes '94, who was featured on the cover of the Summer 2006 issue of Berklee today, was honored at a New York City reception for her contributions to the music industry as a Broadway star and recording artist. If you missed that issue of BT, visit to read her story.

On August 17, Boston alumni set sail on the Spirit of Boston for a cruise around the harbor with family and friends. The House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles was the setting for an August 21 alumni gathering. It was great to see so many familiar faces.

  From the left: Lalah Hathaway '90, David Chandler '86, Karen Bell, faculty member Jeff Ramsey '90, Sonjah Hawkins '88, Charyn Harris '83, Lynne Fiddmont '84, Dawn Bishop '92

Finally, during the new faculty orientation activities on August 31, a panel of alumni came to the college to share their experiences as students. Alumni and new faculty members really enjoyed the exchange of ideas, anecdotes, and expectations.

The alumni community (currently 41,000 strong) is constantly growing. News stories about Berklee appear frequently in the media as developments unfold according to the college's latest vision statement. This is a time of tremendous growth and opportunity within the Berklee community. Alumni should stay informed of these new developments; they will surely shape the college's future.

I urge each of you to check the alumni website at http://alumni. to get the name and contact information for the alumni chapter leaders in your area. Please take time to reach out, to let them know who you are, and, most importantly, to learn how you can be involved. I look forward to working with you during this new academic year.

-Karen Bell
Director of Alumni Affairs

Click here to see all upcoming Alumni Events.

Click here to contact your chapter president.