Encore Gala Raises Funds for BCMP Scholarships

On October 21, 2017, the Berklee Encore Gala rocked the Boston Marriott Copley Place raising nearly $2 million to benefit the Berklee City Music program. Composer, producer, and Emmy Award winner Rickey Minor, hosted the evening’s festivities. Among his many credits, Minor is the former bandleader of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Later in the evening, he played bass with the Grammy–Award winning funk group Tavares during the Starlight Finale. Minor’s story of overcoming great odds resonated with special guest and City Music alumna Courtney Harrell ’01. A former scholarship recipient and single mother, Harrell credits Berklee City Music with “saving her life.” Harrell and current student Lea Grace Hicks-Swinson sang “From a Distance” together, captivating the audience.

Following a cocktail reception and dinner, the gala’s 800 guests enjoyed performances from some 150 Berklee musicians and special guests in six different nightclub settings. Musical acts included the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, the Venezuelan Project, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee Musical Theater Showcase, Donna McElroy and Jetro Da Silva, the Glove, and Hunter LaMar to name a few. A silent auction featured musical instruments, private dinners, and event and travel packages.

For 23 years, the Encore Gala has raised significant funding for Berklee City Music, a program that enables students from underserved communities to develop musically, academically, and emotionally through the study of contemporary music. Since its founding in 1993, City Music has fostered the development of hundreds of thousands of young people from the United States and Canada. The program encourages innovation, collaboration, and community to help young people become confident and well-rounded individuals ready to shape the world.

Encore Gala Sponsors


Copresenting Sponsors

  • Abrams Capital
  • Bain Capital Community Partnerships

Colead Sponsors

  • Aramark Education
  • Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation
  • Jim and Judy O’Brien ’14P

Platinum Sponsors

  • Coca-Cola
  • David and Lori Sprows
  • Diane Arnold and Dean Goodermote ’09P

Superstar Ballroom

  • Michael and Barbara Eisenson

Event Cochairs

  • Jim and Judy O’Brien
  • David and Lori Sprows