Berklee Today

Alum Notes: Spring Break 2000 in Nashville

For the 11th consecutive year, dozens of Songwriting and Music Production and Engineering majors trekked to Nashville, Tennessee, in March, where they spent their spring break examining the inner workings of Music Row. Songwriters, artists, producers, and music publishers--many of them Berklee alumni--made the students feel welcome by sharing their experiences in the industry and offering advice on how to launch a career in Music City U.S.A.

As in years past, faculty members Pat Pattison and Stephen Webber arranged for students to meet with some of the best in the Nashville music business. This year's clinicians included songwriters Kim Richey, Kami Lyle '92, Mike Reid, and Chuck Cannon; producers Kyle Lehning, Matt Rollings '86, and Josh Leo; and ace session musicians Jerry Douglas, John Hobbs, and Jerry McPherson. Highlights of the trip included a tour of the Grand Ole Opry's broadcast and production facilities, and an impromptu duet with student fiddle player Casey Driessen '00 and bluegrass master Tim O'Brien (of Hot Rize/Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers fame) during a clinic at Warner/Reprise.

Many Nashville-area alumni participated in the trip, due in large part to the efforts of Pamela Roller '95, Nashville Berklee alumni coordinator and newly appointed trustee. Roller served as moderator on an alumni panel that included Steve DiDominico '97, Andrea Stolpe '98, Neil Diercks '93, Ray Vega '83, Brett Blandon '96, and Brooke Fox '98. The panelists shared practical advice on how to make the transition from studying at Berklee to earning a living in the Nashville music industry.

A performance by area alumni at Nashville's popular Gibson Guitar Café capped off the trip. Shane Adams '95 organized the show, which featured music by Fox, Stolpe, Dillon Dixon '91, Gary Culley '89, Amy MacDonald '95, Scarlett Keys '91, Jody Jenkins '93, Jason McCord '89, and others, with backing from an alumni band.

— Sarah Godcher