Berklee's Helping Hands


Parents Support Berklee
Alan Silvestri, an accomplished film composer and Berklee alumnus, once caused students to laugh, faculty to nod their heads affirmatively, and college leaders to emit long sighs when he asked 1,200 students packed into the Berklee Performance Center if their parents ever asked them to forget about becoming doctors, lawyers, or engineers and urged them instead to study music. Despite his success after leaving Berklee, Silvestri is keenly aware of the obstacles young musicians must overcome to pursue their dream.

Remarkably, in the intervening years since Silvestri touched a responsive chord with his observation, Berklee has experienced a significant increase in philanthropic support for the college among parents. This year alone, Berklee was honored to receive a $100,000 gift from a parent of a new student who wishes to remain anonymous. Inspired by the quality of the education his child is receiving at the college, this donor designated the gift to be directed to the department in which his daughter is studying.

This gift follows other significant demonstrations of parental support. Jay and Kathryn Krachmer of Edina, Minnesota, noted, "We have been so pleased and impressed with the outstanding environment and faculty. Even more impressive is the nurturing and supportive attitude the college has towards the students." 

A Texas couple, witnessing firsthand their son's enthusiasm and focus as a music production and engineering major, decided to provide scholarship support for other students in the same department. Their motivation? Providing philanthropic support is the most tangible way for them to say thank-you for the education their son is receiving at Berklee.

A Great Start
Berklee's single largest fundraising event, the Encore Gala, is off to its strongest start ever. Trustee Bill Lynch who is chairing the event with trustees Elliott Hillback and Steve Holtzman, agreed to a lead gift of $50,000 to launch this year's effort to make the Gala the most successful in its 12-year history. Berklee is seeking sponsors at all levels for an event that transforms the Park Plaza into eight dynamic nightclubs featuring a vast array of music styles, and that typically offers 100 silent auction items that intrigue music lovers. We are pleased that the Gala sells out early, so contact Beverly Tryon at for information on sponsorships and reservations. 

Berklee and Banjo?
Friends and admirers of Earl Scruggs and his colorful career in music created the Earl Scruggs Endowed Residency. The residency is designed to further strengthen the ties between the Nashville music community and Berklee. The funds will bring country and bluegrass artists to Berklee for clinics and residencies. 

President Brown conferred an honorary degree upon the 81-year-old banjo legend at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville on March 15. Scruggs is the first country music or bluegrass performer to receive an honorary degree from Berklee. Those wishing to make gifts to the Earl Scruggs fund can contact Debbie Bieri at

For Music Therapy Majors
Koster Insurance, a company that provides insurance products and services to more than 65 institutions of higher education, recently created a permanently endowed scholarship fund to support Berklee's music therapy majors. The first Koster Insurance Agency scholarship award was recently presented to Kana Kamitsubo.

Commenting on the award, Teresa Koster, president of the agency, said, "The scope of the health care industry has grown to include a range of alternative treatments. I am proud that Koster Insurance is able to contribute to the education of students who strive to improve patient quality of life through new and innovative techniques."

"The Koster award will allow some of our finest music therapy students, like Kana, to become professionals who use their talent in the service of others," said Suzanne Hanser, chair of the Music Therapy Department.