Berklee Today

Alumni Beat
By Adrian Ross

Adrian Ross '96
Photo by Paul Foley

Last fall, Berklee's Boston Alumni Chapter hosted a reception in conjunction with the Second Annual Lower Roxbury/South End Jazz Festival on September 28. The gathering took place in the Community Room at the Piano Factory, and featured music from the student group, the Paul Vinton Ensemble. The guest for the evening was trumpeter and J Curve recording artist Darren Barrett '90. He was featured at the festival and sat in with the student ensemble.

The San Francisco Alumni Chapter held a reception at Yoshi's jazz club and restaurant in Oakland, California, on September 23. The event was built around a Yoshi's appearance by the Berklee Monterey Quartet hot off the stage from their performances at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Featured in the group were Walter Smith, tenor, Mark Kelley, bass, Albert Sanz, piano, and Kendrick Scott, drums. All delivered stellar performances. I was fortunate to travel to sunny Miami, Florida, for an event with Berklee songwriting professor Pat Pattison. The two-hour clinic, held on October 5 at the Four Points Sheraton in Miami Beach, focused on the many different techniques used in songwriting, examining several formulas and methods to improve writing abilities. We were very pleased with the event and look forward to holding another soon.

(From the left): Brian Simmons '98, Kate Schutt '97, Seth Saltzman '81 (ASCAP), Nicolas Villamizar '81, and Sue Devine (of ASCAP) after the ASCAP 101: Your Music, Your Rights seminar held on October 21, 2002, at Berklee's Film Scoring facilities.

The Nashville Alumni Chapter assembled a team for Hands on Nashville Day 2002 on October 5th to help spruce up a public school. Hands on Nashville is a non-profit organization that connects individuals, groups, families and organizations for meaningful volunteer opportunities to serve the community's needs. The Berklee alumni team: Neil Diercks '93, Jason Fridenstine '99, Joe Freel '94, Alan Green '90, Beth Schackne '97, David Robinson '96, Michael Bransfield '92, Amery Bastian'98, Michael Boeser '01, Kathy Burkly '83, Bill Small, Kira Small '93, Ken Upham '81, Betsy Jackson '84, Blake Hunter '02, and Brandon Demaris '02, spent the day painting a fence at Brookmeade Elementary School in West Nashville. Nashville Alumni Chapter president Neil Diercks and area alumni have been presenting a variety of educational, social, and service activities. The chapter concluded 2002 with a holiday party at the Trace that drew more than 50 alumni. To become involved with the Nashville Alumni Chapter, contact Diercks at

Members of the group Dead Left with Livingston Taylor after the alumni showcase held October 13, 2002 at the Cutting Room in New York. From the left: Aaron Stroessner '91, Dave Purcell '91, Livingston Taylor, Bob Roe, and Zeke Zima '91.
Photo by Adrian Ross

On October 21 the Boston chapter held ASCAP 101: Your Music, Your Rights, a seminar on copyright issues and available revenue streams for composers and publishers. It was held in Berklee's Film Scoring Department facilities and was hosted by Seth Saltzman '81, vice president of the member management group at ASCAP, and Sue Devine, director of film and television relations at ASCAP. Many of the alumni attending were composers who posed specific questions to the visiting experts. We extend a special thanks to Seth and Sue for traveling from New York for this event.

After Thanksgiving, Pat Pattison hosted another songwriting clinic, this one was at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center on December 1. It was the second event for this newly established alumni chapter, and an attentive group gathered to learn ways to hone their writing skills. I would like to acknowledge Pat Pattison for his efforts as well as Mindy Hansen '80, and Mary Ellen Skeesick '80 for helping to put the workshop together. In December, the New York chapter hosted their year-end alumni holiday social at Tammany Hall. This was the second year the event was held, and it drew over 100 alumni and guests. Partygoers were treated to music from the Derek Nievergelt ['97] Trio as well as giveaways and party favors. A few days later, on December 12, the Boston chapter hosted their annual alumni holiday social in the William Davis Room at the Berklee Performance Center. The reception was followed by the Singers' Showcase, one of the college's most popular annual concerts. Alumni from various classes were represented, and all who attended were duly entertained.

This year's International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) conference was held in Toronto, and the college took the opportunity to honor three outstanding alumni: Carol Welsman '80, Ingrid Jensen '89, and Seamus Blake '93, who are all Canadians. Welsman, a jazz pianist, vocalist, and composer, came to the alumni reception at the Royal York Hotel. Jensen and Blake were at sound-check during the receptionwith their new band Project O, but we caught up with them after their set. Also heard at IAJE was guitarist Lionel Loueke '01 who is touring with the Terence Blanchard Quintet. That's it for now. Stay in touch.

- Adrian Ross '96, Director, Alumni Affairs