Berklee Today

Nashville Notes

  Dave Petrelli
  Dave Petrelli '05

Nashville rolled into the new year as a city on the rise. Music City's recent architectural and economic renaissance was noted in Money and Kiplinger's magazines. Nashville was ranked the number one city in America in the Kiplinger's article "50 Smart Places to Live" and made Money's list of best places to live. Berklee alumni are among the bright lights in Nashville's expanding skyline.

Charlie Kelley '89 received his third Grammy nomination for his role in producing LynnMarie's CD Party Dress, which is up for the Best Polka Album award. Songwriter Greg Becker '95 has songs on the soundtrack for the Tim McGraw movie Flicka, the current Rascal Flatts CD Me and My Gang, and Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts. His song "Somebody Wrote Love" was awarded Song of the Year honors at the recent Christian Country Music Association awards. Kira Small '93 sang with megastar Alan Jackson at the Country Music Association awards and on Wynonna Judd's Classic Christmas CD. Offrow Records released Small's latest recording, Love in a Dangerous World.

Beth Schackne '97 is heading into her eighth year at the powerhouse management firm Vector Management and has expanded her horizons on the song-plugging front with Keith Urban's cut of John Hiatt's "Slow Turning." She also served as the production coordinator for the Cracker Barrel/Vector CD Songs of the Year. Schackne assisted in producing a follow-up concert featuring Hank Williams, Jr., Trisha Yearwood, and others that was televised on January 27. Nicole Porter '03 was recently promoted to tour marketing coordinator at Vector.

Recent Nashville arrival Nia Allen '03 inked a national distribution deal for her CD A New Thing. Mike Dysinger '83 is completing production for the latest project from legendary singer/songwriter and two-time Grammy nominee Tracy Nelson. The as-yet untitled album is due for release in the spring. Jeff Miller '01 has released Seesaw, his third CD. Matt Mangano '00, Nick Buda '96, and Casey Driessen '00 all contributed to the disc. Eve Fleishman '05 and Mare Wakefield '04 have just released an album of children's music entitled Daddy's Moonlight Alligator Boat Ride. Renaissance man Nomad Ovunc '04 served as the album's main arranger and engineer in addition to playing numerous instruments.

Gwen Holt is molding young musical minds at Jan Williams School of Music in Brentwood, Tennessee, teaching piano, guitar, voice, and songwriting. The Matrix Percussion Trio, featuring Joe Smyth '79, was awarded the 2007 Zildjian Opportunity Fund Grant, presented by the Percussive Arts Society for the advancement of percussion-based events for underserved youth. Justin Amaral '99 was recently featured in Modern Drummer magazine and completed a tour with Junior Brown. Drummer Kevin Rapillo '90 is touring the United States with country star Rodney Atkins in support of Atkins's album If You're Going through Hell, which has already generated two number one hit singles. Bryan Beller '92 is producing Wes Fest 2, a concert in Los Angeles on March 6 to raise funds for a Berklee scholarship in memory of the late Wes Wehmiller '92. Bass star Stu Hamm is the concert headliner. Visit

Singer/songwriter Laura Clapp '01 is performing weekly at the ?bertrendy Sambuca Restaurant. Her band includes drummer David Spak '93 and bassist Tim Denbo '02. That's it until next time.

That's all until next time.

- Dave Petrelli
Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter President