Berklee Today

Eighth Encore Gala Nets $400,000 for Scholarships

The soulful sounds of the Berklee Tower of Power Ensemble filled the Berklee-a-Go-Go Room
Photos by Justin Knight

Once again, the Harvard Club of Boston was filled with Berklee faculty, staff, and administrators as well as student musicians and friends of the college on October 19 for the Eighth Annual Encore Gala. This year's edition of Berklee's premier musical fundraiser took in over $400,000 that will go toward the Berklee City Music (BCM) scholarship outreach program for urban youth.

More than 100 musicians transformed the Harvard Club into an entertainment complex of nine rooms featuring a variety of live music for dancing and listening audiences. Among the gala's performers was Grammy-winning composer and Latin-jazz pianist Michel Camilo, who made a surprise guest appearance with the Larry Monroe Quintet in the Birdland Room. Members of Berklee's Tower of Power Ensemble played a selection of funky tunes to the packed Berklee-a-Go-Go Room. Audience members had elbow room only as they listened to the popular faculty group Blues After Dark in the appropriately titled Blues After Dark Room.

The Berklee Overjoyed Gospel choir raised spirits with their unique brand of gospel music. The Salsa Club pulsated all night to the Latin grooves of the Berklee Salsa Ensemble. Young members of Berklee's City Music SYSTEM 5 Ensemble played to an enthusiastic audience in the City Music Room. Those seeking a blend of jazz and blues visited the Vocal Library where faculty vocalist Nancy Morris performed.

Saxophonist Larry Monroe led a faculty quintet that spotlighted pianist Michel Camilo and vocalist Donna McElroy.

Professor Henry Tate was the host in the Bijou Room, where top student pianists improvised soundtracks to silent movies. The intimate setting of the Boston Tea Party Room was a perfect setting for guests enjoying the sounds of young singer/songwriters. Rounding out the bill was the Berklee Jazz-Rock Ensemble, which cranked out dance songs.

The silent auction room was a hub of activity for those seeking deals on a range of items. Instruments donated for the auction included two gorgeous grand pianos by Yamaha and Baldwin; a Korg Karma Synthesizer autographed by Herbie Hancock; guitars from Fender, Gibson, Ovation, and Godin; and Roland and Technics digital pianos. Nonmusical items included vacation packages to a castle in Ireland and to Delray Beach, Florida; silver-level tickets and postparty passes to the 45th Grammy Awards; and special passes to the VH1 Divas 2003 concert. The auction ultimately raised $73,000.

From the left: Schwab Capital Markets V.P. Jim Leonard and wife ,Liz, gala honorary cochairs Lee Eliot Berk and his wife, Susan G. Berk, and former Board of Trustees Chair Will Davis with wife, Jessica.

Schwab Capital Markets sponsored the gala for the fifth consecutive year as part of its commitment to educational partnerships that benefit local communities. Berklee trustees Rhoda Sapers and Eli H. Newberger, M.D., served as the Encore Gala's cochairs. President Lee Eliot Berk and his wife, Susan, were honorary cochairs.

Gala Superstar Ballroom sponsors included ARAMARK Campus Services, Lynch Associates, Newbury Comics and XOFF Records. Nightclub sponsors included Ascent Venture Partners, Ferd Construction, Gabelli Asset Management, Longwood Security Services, Piano Forte, Ryan Construction, and Shawmut Design and Construction.

  - Beverly Tryon, director of corporate relations