Star-Studded Encore Gala Nets Nearly $2 Million

Actress and guest host Jamie Lee Curtis is flanked by Encore Gala sponsors David and Amy Abrams (left), Robert and Megan O’Block (right), and John Connaughton (right).
Actress and guest host Jamie Lee Curtis is fanked by Encore Gala sponsors David and Amy Abrams (left) and Robert and Megan O’Block, and John Connaughton (right).
Phil Farnsworth
Bassist Alissia Benveniste leads the band Alissia and the Funketeers, featuring Berklee City Music student vocalist Robert Gould, saxophonist Ryan Gerrett, and drummer Munir Zakee.
Bassist Alissia Benveniste leads the band Alissia and the Funketeers featuring Berklee City Music student vocalist Robert Gould, saxophonist Ryan Gerrett, and drummer Munir Zakee.
Phil Farnsworth
From the left: Laura and Lee Whitmore, Berklee president Roger Brown and his wife Linda Mason, and Encore Gala committee cochair Dean Goodermote.
From the left: Laura and Lee Whitmore, Berklee president Roger Brown and his wife Linda Mason, and Encore Gala committee cochair Dean Goodermote.
Phil Farnsworth
George Clinton (center) performs with Parliament-Funkadelic.
George Clinton (center) performs with Parliament-Funkadelic.
Phil Farnsworth

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 Sponsors
 
Presenting Sponsor
Bain Capital Children’s Charity Ltd. 
 
Lead Sponsor
Abrams Capital 
 
Co-Lead Sponsor
Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
Aramark Education
 
Starlight Finale Sponsors
Megan and Robert O’Block
 
Platinum Sponsors
Coca-Cola
Dean Goodermote and Diane Arnold
 
Superstar Ballroom
Choate, Hall & Stewart, LLP
Jim and Judy O’Brien
Michael and Barbara Eisenson 
Tufts Health Plan
 
Event Co-Chairs
Paul Ciriello and Wendy Del Mul
Megan and Robert O’Block
Dean Goodermote and Diane Arnold

Laurie McFarlane is associate director of sponsored events and corporate outreach. Beverly Tryon is assistant vice president for institutional advancement.