Berklee Today

Larkin and Moog Honored at Class of 2006 Welcome

Electronic musical instrument pioneer Bob Moog has the doctoral collar placed around his neck prior to receiving his Berklee degree
All photos by Bob Kramer
Vanguard recording artist Patty Larkin receives Berklee's honorary doctor of music degree from President Lee Eliot Berk

On September 5, the new academic year was launched at Berklee's Entering Student Convocation to strains of "When the Saints Go Marching In." The band Made in the Shade rendered the Dixieland chestnut as they led college administrators, trustees, and honorees Patty Larkin and Bob Moog down the aisle of the Berklee Performance Center to the stage.

Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students Lawrence Bethune introduced those on the stage and then addressed the new students. "After this brief, rather serious traditional welcoming ritual," Bethune said, "we'll let the power of our music do the real talking. As musicians, you are well aware that music is powerful. Deep inside each of you is the magical power to communicate, teach, and heal through music. We are here to help you draw out that power and put it to use for yourself and others."

Senior Tiffany Lynette Anderson followed Bethune as the convocation's student speaker. She told the students, "Berklee is a passport connecting you with many different people and cultures. It is a place to network for your present and future goals. Focus on the task at hand. Be clear with your agenda."

President Lee Eliot Berk then took the microphone to bestow an honorary doctor of music degree upon singer/songwriter and Berklee alumna Patty Larkin '74. He described Larkin's career highlights—11 Boston Music awards, topping the Triple-A radio charts, and more. Berk also commented on Larkin's music, "Her songs tell a personal story and testify to her being a keen observer of contemporary life in America."

After accepting the degree, Larkin told the students, "You have the enviable task of being able to take the time out to learn and absorb from your teachers and all the people you see around you." She then quoted poet Stanley Kunitz, saying, "Be what you are, give what is yours to give, have style, dare."

Introducing the second honoree, President Berk stated that electronic musical instrument pioneer Robert Moog has had greater impact on the sound of contemporary music than any recording artist. "The introduction of his first Moog synthesizer in 1964 created shockwaves in the music world that continue to resonate," Berk said. "Since then, synthesizers have touched nearly every style and genre of music and expanded the sonic palette far beyond the tones of traditional instruments."

Leonard C. Walston, III sang the Jeffrey Osborne hit "Stay with Me Tonight" at the 2002 Convocation concert

Natalie Stovall sang "Born to Fly," the title cut from Sarah Evans's breakthrough country CD of 2000

After the concert, student musicians, Yo Team concert production staff, and honorees Larkin (center) and Moog (peering over Larkin's shoulder), gathered on the BPC stage

Addressing the audience, Moog said, "I feel great gratitude that I am able to be part of the music production process. What you do with our instruments helps those of us who make them to be more human. I want to thank you all for that."

Next, 22 student musicians (eight vocalists and 14 instrumentalists) presented a wide-ranging program of pop, r&b, country, jazz, and show tunes. After opening with an instrumental version of Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Runnin'," the band played Jeffrey Osborne's hit "Stay with Me Tonight," a medley from The Wiz, and Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town." In tribute to Bob Moog, singer Adam Moore and the group played the 1970 Emerson, Lake and Palmer classic "Lucky Man," complete with an extended Mini Moog solo.

As a tribute to Patty Larkin, Alicia Champion and company gave a lively rendition of Larkin's song "The Book I'm Not Reading." Before the show concluded, the band also played Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" and "Born to Fly" by country singer Sara Evans. For an encore, everyone came onstage for Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." The audience applauded thunderously and the lights went up, leaving entering students savoring their first Berklee experience.