The Alumni Beat

By Karen Bell '90

  Karen Bell '90
  Nick Balkin

Since my last column, we've launched into a new year, and in New England, Old Man Winter has made his presence felt. I want to fill you in on some noteworthy end-of-the-year alumni activities. In September, we reviewed nearly100 proposals for the 2007-2008 Alumni Grant Program. After much consideration, the review committee awarded grants to the following 10 alumni:


  • David Bickel '05, Lawrence Music Clubhouse
  • Jeff Davison '81, BYPC Circle of Giving Music Outreach Program
  • Gregg Gelb '79, Heart of Carolina Jazz Society and Jazz Orchestra
  • Raju Gurung '88, Western- style music school in Nepal
  • Michael Hamilton '95, Music outreach to high school students
  • Benjie Kushins '96, Art & Soul Music Studios
  • Koriana Lewis '06, Hamilton-Garrett Music and Arts Academy
  • Kelly Riley '86, Soundream Music Services
  • Michael Trammel '95, High School Jamz LLC and
  • Jeffrey Young '89, The African-American Leadership Institute.

Details on these proposals can be found on the alumni website (visit Applications for the 2008-2009 Alumni Grant Program will be available online in April 2008.


From the left: Rob Lewis '94 moderates a discussion with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds at Berklee.  
Phil Farnsworth  

Also during September 2007, Rob Lewis' 94 visited the campus for the 2007 Entering Student Convocation to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award and welcome the entering class. In a later visit to the campus, Lewis moderated a clinic with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (Lewis is the musical director for Edmonds). During the clinic, Edmonds was given a description for the new course "The Music of Babyface Edmonds."

On October 17, the Music Business Department hosted another successful "Evening with Entrepreneurs" panel. Berklee alumni entrepreneurs were represented by Steve Walter '78, who co-owns the Cutting Room, a popular club in New York. The next day, many alumni gathered at the West End House Boys & Girls Club to learn about becoming a clubhouse mentor. Berklee has partnered with the Music and Youth Initiative to sponsor music clubhouses that are dedicated spaces where young people can create music.


  From the left: Bass Department Chair Rich Appleman and bass reunion guest artist Bryan Beller '92
  Ginny Fordham

Later in October, the college presented its first-ever Berklee Alumni/Heavy Rotation Records Showcase at the College Music Journal 2007 Music Marathon, New York's largest annual music festival. The showcase featured five alumni acts: Igmar Thomas & the Cypher, edibleRed, Via Audio, Elizabeth & the Catapult, and Kid:Nap:Kin. It was a fantastic show. Check out the photos at 2007/11/cmj/cmj_gallery.html.

Rich Appleman, chair of the Bass Department organized Berklee's first-ever alumni bass reunion on November 26 and 27. There were two days of incredible music featuring alumnus Mike Rivard '85 of Club d'Elf, Professor Danny Morris, Assistant Professor Ron Mahdi and his jazz group, and visiting artist Bryan Beller '92. This will become an annual fall event.

In December the alumni chapters of Boston, Los Angeles, and New York held Holiday Socials where alumni gathered to reconnect, network, and offer one another well wishes for the holidays. Next December, other alumni chapters will host holiday parties as well. We have some incredible things in store for the alumni community, so visit the alumni website to learn about upcoming events in your area.


From the left: Lenny Stallworth, John Repucci, and Timothy Swarbrick '64 at the first annual bass reunion  
Ginny Fordham  

Once again, I'd like to thank you for supporting the alumni events held by your chapters. I also want to thank you for your support of the 2007-2008 Ernie Boch challenge. Your gifts are making the difference by helping many talented and deserving student musicians who would not otherwise have access to all that Berklee offers. That's it for now. See you in the spring.


- Karen Bell
Director of Alumni Affairs

For more Boston happenings, visit the Boston chapter website.