Good Reasons to Celebrate

On October 19, Boston was abuzz with Red Sox fever, as the team returned to Fenway Park for the pivotal game six of the American League Championship Series against Detroit. Nevertheless, across town more than 800 enthusiastic guests filled the Westin Copley Place Hotel for Berklee’s flagship fundraising event, the annual Encore Gala. The evening offered dinner and musical acts to raise money for a good cause: the Berklee City Music Program (BCMP). The program provides year-round music education to thousands of middle- and high-school students in Boston and in 45 other sites across the country.

The evening’s featured performers included 18-year-old Tangela Mathis, a BCMP student, along with special guest Tuffus Zimbabwe ’05, who gave a captivating performance during the dinner. Zimbabwe, the keyboard player for the Saturday Night Live band, is a Roxbury native as well as a former BCMP student and Berklee graduate. Songwriter, producer, former American Idol judge, and Berklee professor Kara DioGuardi served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

Additionally, more than 150 Berklee musicians performed in musical styles ranging from salsa to bluegrass to jazz to hip-hop. Featured groups included the Los Rumberos de Boston, the a cappella singing group Pitch Slapped, and bluegrass band Most Lonesome, to name a few.

From the left: Tuffus Zimbabwe, City Music Dean Krystal Banfield, Associate VP Curtis Warner, President Roger H. Brown, and his wife Linda Mason, and Kara DioGuardi
From the left: Tuffus Zimbabwe, City Music Dean Krystal Banfield, Associate VP Curtis Warner, President Roger H. Brown, and his wife Linda Mason, and Kara DioGuardi

Multi-platinum and Grammy-Award–winning recording artists Kool & the Gang ended the evening on a high note with their hits “Jungle Boogie” and “Celebration.” The band’s current lineup includes three Berklee alumni.

Live and silent auctions offered chances to bid on trips to the 2013 Grammy Awards and MusiCares Person of the Year gala honoring Carole King, dinner at Boston’s famed sushi restaurant O Ya with Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and exclusive getaways to the Puerto Rico Heineken JazzFest and the Sundance Film Festival.

Berklee trustees Elliott Hillback and Ann Kreis
Berklee trustees Elliott Hillback and Ann Kreis

For more than 20 years, BCMP has provided transformative educational experiences for many young students—regardless of financial means or location. The program prepares young people for college using music as the catalyst and offers a comprehensive curriculum, individualized mentoring, and scholarship opportunities. [For information on donating to the Berklee City Music Program, visit]

The evening was a triumph for Berklee as well as the Red Sox (the Sox beat Detroit that night and went on to clinch the World Series). As well, Berklee’s 19th Encore Gala raised close to $1.8 million on that October night for BCMP scholarships, which provided a second good reason to celebrate in Boston.

Beverly Tryon is Berklee’s assistant vice president for institutional advancement.

Special Thanks to our Encore Gala Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

Bain Capital Children’s Charity Ltd.

Lead Sponsor

Abrams Capital

Co-Lead Sponsor

Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
Ann Kreis

Platinum Sponsors

Kristine M. and Robert E. Higgins
Newbury Comics Inc.

Superstar Ballroom

ARAMARK Education
Michael and Barbara Eisenson
Tufts Health Plan

Event Co-Chairs
Paul Ciriello, Kristine M. Higgins, and David Patrick