Encore Gala Exceeds Expectations

by Beverly Tryon '82

  More than 900 guests filled the grand ballroom for dinner and music by Berklee City Music musicians.
  Photos by Phil Farnsworth

As a critical funding source for Berklee City Music Program scholarships, Berklee's 13th Annual Encore Gala raised a record $1.3 million this year. Held October 20, 2007, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, the event featured more than 150 musicians, a live auction, and an entertaining way for the event's 900-plus guests to help fund a Berklee education for underserved urban teens.

Thanks to lead sponsorship from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and colead sponsor Bain Capital LLC, gala cochairs Elliott Hillback, Teresa Koster, Isabel Pisano, and Carmichael Roberts, as well as many other generous donors, the musical extravaganza exceeded expectations.


From the left: Cleve Killingsworth, president and CEO of gala sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Lisa Killingsworth, Daren Shentow, Linda Mason; and Berklee President Roger Brown.  

Live auction bidders vied for trips to the Sundance Film Festival and Puerto Rico Jazz Festival and tickets to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as special guests of bandleader Kevin Eubanks '79. In a bidding showdown, two guests went head-to-head for a private one-hour home concert by Berklee professor Livingston Taylor. Ultimately, Taylor agreed to do a show for each of the top bidders, netting $25,000 per performance.

Berklee trustee Janet Marie Smith and the Boston Red Sox Foundation provided another auction highlight: four Green Monster seats at Fenway Park and the opportunity to throw the first pitch at game seven of the American League Championship Series.


  Dancers kicked up their heels in seven themed nightclub settings featuring a range of music.

After dinner, Berklee musicians and special guests kept everyone grooving in seven unique nightclub settings that reflected Berklee's strong international influence, with sounds ranging from salsa and Motown to jazz, folk, and blues. The evening concluded with a midnight blues breakfast for those who didn't want the night to end.

The City Music Room showcased the incredible talent of the Berklee City Music All-Stars, giving guests an opportunity to see firsthand how their contributions benefit promising students from Dorchester, Roxbury, Chelsea, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park. To date, the Berklee City Music Program has provided assistance to more than 1,300 underprivileged teens to pursue their musical and academic aspirations and prepare for a college education through scholarship and mentoring opportunities.

Encore Gala 2007 Supporters



Seated (left to right): Deborah and Steve Barnes, Andrew and Melora Balson, and Anita Bekenstein. Standing (left to right): Judy and Steve Pagliuca, Stephanie and John Connaughton, and Josh Bekenstein of Bain Capital Children's Charity.  

Principal Lead sponsor
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts


Colead sponsor


Bain Capital Children's Charity Ltd.

Platinum sponsors
Abrams Capital LLC
ARAMARK Education
Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc.
Newbury Comics

Superstar Ballroom Sponsors
BNY Mellon Wealth Management
Charlesbank Capital Partners
Dunkin' Brands
Elliott and Marjorie Hillback
J. Robert Scott Executive Search


  Student musicians perform in the World Folk Music Room. More than 150 musicians, including bluesman James Mongomery and jazz pianist Michel Camilo, performed throughout the evening.

Nightclub Sponsors
Academic Risk Resources &
Insurance LLC
Ascent Venture Partners
Barnes & Noble College
Charles River Ventures
Citizens Bank
Lori and Peter Comeau
Koster Insurance Agency
Leigh Michl
Lee Munder Capital Group
Longwood Security Services Inc.
McCall & Almy
Miller Dyer Spears Inc.
Carmichael Roberts and Sandra Park
Stonyfield Farm Yogurt


Blues Breakfast Sponsor
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence J. Sapanski