A New Kind of Corporate Gig
Recently, the members of the band Six eagerly took the stage in front of a packed house at Berklee’s Café 939. These musicians were not Berklee students. Instead, they are leaders of prominent companies in the Greater Boston area. The band’s roster includes Scott Gilmour (Fidelity Investments), Bruce Lauterwasser (Raytheon Company), Walter Ogier (formerly of Arbios Systems Inc, Genetix Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Eligix), John Swartz (the MITRE Corporation), and Wendell Wickerham (W/E/Wickerham Associates LLC).
Over the past year, the college has collaborated with PARTNERS+simons to host an unusual concert series called Executive Sessions at Café 939. Giving new meaning to the term corporate gig, Executive Sessions showcases bands and solo performers who work by day as CEOs and corporate executives but are also serious about music. Since the inception of the series in April 2008, 11 bands have performed, and more shows are scheduled for the summer. The players perform for the love of music rather than for extra cash. All proceeds from Executive Sessions go to Berklee’s scholarship programs.
“There is an obscure German poet who said that music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” notes series coproducer Tom Simons, the president and creative director of PARTNERs+simons. “Truer words were never spoken. We are calling all Boston-area CEOs who have night jobs in bands to express their interest in playing a Thursday-night session and wash away some office dirt while also supporting the next generation of gifted musicians.”
The showcase demonstrates how truly beneficial a music education is in developing future business leaders, explains Executive Sessions coproducer and Berklee staff member Mirek Vana. “One of the main ideas behind the series is that being a musician is indeed a unique prerequisite for becoming a successful leader in any field,” explains Vana. “The music education we provide here at Berklee gives our students one of the most valuable skill sets one can get during his or her life. For example, rehearsing a band teaches students time management, human resource management, negotiation, leadership and improvisation, while songwriting lends itself to product development, resource management, and the ability to inspire.”
As the series continues to grow, producers Simons and Vana have also added initiatives. This season top student singer/songwriters opened for the bands, often joining them onstage. The series will also feature a battle of the bands, offer recording opportunities, and much more. The Thursday evening series will continue in June with Tim Cushman ’80, the owner and celebrated chef at the O Ya restaurant. For more information, please visit www.myspace.com/executivesessions.