Berklee's Encore Gala Rocks the Harvard Club to Raise $345,000 for Berklee City Music Scholarships
Perpetuating its reputation as one of the hottest fundraisers in Boston, Berklee's Encore Gala adhered to tradition by rocking the Harvard Club of Boston on the evening of October 13. Hundreds of guests turned out for the college's premier musical fundraiser. This year's event, the seventh annual Encore Gala, netted over $345,000 that will be used for the Berklee City Music (BCM) Scholarship program, the college's educational outreach program for urban youth.
More than 100 faculty and student musicians helped to turn the Harvard Club into an entertainment complex with nine rooms set up like night clubs for dancing and listening audiences until midnight. Among the gala's featured performers was keyboardist Al Kooper leading his blues group called the Funky Faculty, and vocalist Donna McElroy, who appeared with the Larry Monroe Quintet.
Berklee's Tower of Power Ensemble and the Berklee Oldies But Goodies Band kept the crowd bumping and grinding in a second-floor ballroom aptly named "Berklee-a-Go-Go." While the Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra made a special appearance in the Superstar Ballroom, Berklee's City Music System 5 Ensemble was showcasing some incredible young talent from the BCM program in the City Music Room. The World Music Gallery featured the Latin beat of the Berklee Salsa Ensemble. In the Rainbow Room, Phil Wilson's Berklee Rainbow Band presented their own brand of big band jazz. Also showcased in the Rainbow Room was Berklee's Overjoyed Ensemble which stirred the souls of the audience with its gospel sound.
For those seeking a softer vibe, there was the Unicorn Coffee House where a number of songwriters played their tunes in an intimate acoustic setting. Among the firsts at this year's gala was a room set up for student pianists to improvise soundtracks to classic silent films as Berklee Professor Henry Tate narrated.
"As always, the Encore Gala featured some remarkable musical talent for an unforgettable night of listening and dancing," said Berklee trustee and gala cochair Bill Morton. "Knowing that the funds raised will go toward helping inner city youth get a musical education made the evening even more special."
Berklee trustees Don Rose and Phil Ramone chaired the silent auction which offered a wide range of items and ultimately raised $55,000. Special auction donations included a Yamaha Disklavier GranTouch Piano; Korg Karma Synthesizer autographed by Phil Collins; vacation packages to Puerto Vallarta, Martha's Vineyard, a castle in Ireland, and the Puerto Rico Jazz Festival; an original lithograph by Tony Bennett; silver-level tickets and postparty passes to the 44th Grammy Awards; special passes to the VH1 Music Awards and "The Drew Carey show;" and much more.
Schwab Capital Markets sponsored the gala for the fourth consecutive year as part of their commitment to educational partnerships that benefit local communities. Berklee trustees Vivian C. Beard and Bill Morton served as the Encore Gala's cochairs. President Lee Eliot Berk and his wife Susan were the honorary cochairs and Berklee Trustee Mike Dreese was the program-book chair.
Gala Superstar Ballroom sponsors included Newbury Comics and XOFF Records. Nightclub sponsors included ACME Building Services, ARAMARK Campus Services, Ascent Venture Partners, Credit Suisse First Boston, Will and Jessica Davis, Gabelli Asset Management, Longwood Security Services, MBNA New England, Payton Construction Corporation, Piano Forte, and Bill and Tia Van Loan.
After it was over, Trustee Vivian C. Beard summed up the evening: "Raising funds to help talented inner city youth reach for their dreams is a cause that I feel passionate about," she said. "Accomplishing it with the help of these great Berklee students and faculty members gives another view of the power of music."
Beverly Tryon, Director of Corporate Relations.