Star-Studded Encore Gala Nets Nearly $2 Million
The 900 enthusiastic guests who celebrated the 20th anniversary of the annual Berklee Encore Gala filled the Boston Marriott Copley Place and raised nearly $2 million for the Berklee City Music program. It was a history-making evening and set the stage for anniversaries to come. The Berklee City Music initiative provides year-round music education to thousands of middle-and high-school students in Boston and 47 sites across the country.
Various special guests were on hand during the evening, including Golden Globe Award–winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who brought humor and enthusiasm to her role as master of ceremonies. Also on hand was Curtis’s husband, renowned film director, musician, and Berklee trustee Christopher Guest. He made a cameo appearance in the American Roots and Blues music room performing with a band featuring Berklee president Roger H. Brown on drums.
YouTube sensations, Alissia and the Funketeers and Berklee City Music student Robert Gould, gave an electrifying performance of Stevie Wonder hits “Higher Ground” and “I Believe” during the dinner portion of the evening.
Following dinner, more than 150 Berklee musicians performed in various musical styles, ranging from salsa to bluegrass in six listening and dancing rooms. The featured groups included Grammy Award winners Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience and Berklee’s Tower of Power ensemble with vocalist Ray Greene ’96 sitting in. (Greene is the current lead singer for Tower of Power.) Also performing was mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull ’11. Berklee alumni were well represented in salsa group Los Rumberos de Boston as well. Multi-platinum–selling and Grammy-Award–winning recording artists George Clinton and Parliament-Funkedelic performed with guest trombonist Fred Wesley (a member of the original James Brown band). The group ended the evening in style playing hits from the catalogs of each band.
Live and silent auctions offered opportunities to bid on trips to the 2015 Emmy Awards, a private in-home performance by Livingston Taylor with a meal prepared by Gail Arnold (Steven Spielberg’s personal chef), and exclusive getaways to the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy and Utah’s Sundance Film Festival.
For more than two decades, Berklee City Music has provided transformative educational experiences for many young students regardless of financial means or location. The Encore Gala has been the flagship fundraiser supporting this program. Berklee City Music 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 Berklee City Music, visit berklee.edu/giving.
Special Thanks to Our Encore Gala SponsorsPresenting SponsorBain Capital Children’s Charity Ltd.Lead SponsorAbrams CapitalCo-Lead SponsorBoston Celtics Shamrock FoundationAramark EducationStarlight Finale SponsorsMegan and Robert O’BlockPlatinum SponsorsCoca-ColaDean Goodermote and Diane ArnoldSuperstar BallroomChoate, Hall & Stewart, LLPJim and Judy O’BrienMichael and Barbara EisensonTufts Health PlanEvent Co-ChairsPaul Ciriello and Wendy Del MulMegan and Robert O’BlockDean Goodermote and Diane Arnold
Laurie McFarlane is associate director of sponsored events and corporate outreach. Beverly Tryon is assistant vice president for institutional advancement.