Making a Difference with In-Kind Gifts

“Give us the tools, and we will finish the job,” Winston Churchill once said. And several companies and individuals have helped Berklee finish the job of educating young musicians through generous in-kind gift donations. Valued at $1 million, a recent software donation by Sonoma Wire Works is one of the largest, single in-kind gifts to Berklee in recent years. Sonoma donated software licenses for RiffWorks, a guitar-recording program, and KitCore Deluxe, a MIDI drum instrument plug-in.

“Through the generous support of Sonoma Wire Works, our students have access to the professional tools that will help them develop their musical skills while studying at Berklee and to successfully participate in the music marketplace once they graduate,” says David Mash, the college’s vice president for technology and education outreach.

According to Mash, the significance of both applications is that they are simple to use and provide students with professional sound. RiffWorks is a songwriting tool with a focus on playing the guitar. “It’s an idea machine that requires no setup,” notes Anthony Marvuglio, the assistant vice president for academic technology. For guitar players learning to play in time by practicing with a drummer, it gives them seven different drummers to work with and a variety of styles. “It’s a neat way to practice,” Marvuglio says. Players can set the tempo and start recording simply by strumming their guitar.

With KitCore Deluxe, “students can have famous drummers’ grooves and fills on their own music productions,” Mash says. Students can use the application to learn sequencing for song production and as an accompaniment during practice.

Thanks to a previous donation from Submersible Music, students at Berklee have already been using a KitCore program. Last year, Sonoma acquired Submersible Music’s KitCore and DrumCore software.

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation continued a program begun last year with its substantial donation of new amplifiers. This year, the iconic guitar manufacturer donated 29 amplifiers to the college. And as was the case in 2009, Berklee in turn will donate the Fender amplifiers replaced by the latest gift to schools and community organizations in the Greater Boston area as part of the college’s ongoing commitment to underserved youth in music programs.

This year, Berklee received two valuable collections of great interest for students, educators, and historians. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick donated the collection of his late father—the jazz musician, composer, and arranger Laurdine Kenneth “Pat” Patrick—to the college’s Africana Studies archives. The collection features original scores, lead sheets and arrangements by Patrick, Duke Ellington, and Mongo Santamaria, as well as photographs, concert programs, family correspondence, and personal notebooks chronicling four decades of jazz.

Music journalist and author Brian Coleman donated his “lovingly recreated museum of sound,” consisting of 1,200 12-inch records, 900 LPs, and 700 CDs filling about 32 crates. They make up about one-third of his total record collection amassed over the course of two decades and represent almost every musical genre (other than classical and country), he says. The collection was donated for use in the college’s turntable lab, he says, and in classes that will examine the record album, with its liner notes and artwork, as a cultural artifact.

There may be additions to the collection someday. Coleman, noting that the iPod’s random-shuffle functionality has overridden the careful song sequencing of the LP and CD eras, he says. “I still actually buy albums and CDs.”

To learn more about opportunities to give, contact Berklee’s Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Beverly Tryon at (617) 747-2660 or