Dr. Bacharach Sings

  Paula Cole '90 and Burt Bacharach share a moment during the March 1 concert devoted to Bacharach's music at the Berklee Performance Center.
  Phil Farnsworth

Burt Bacharach, one of America's premier songwriters, was honored at Berklee on March 1 when he received an honorary doctorate from President Roger Brown and was then treated to a concert devoted entirely to his music. After accepting the doctoral degree, Bacharach said, "The only way I can say thank-you is to sing a song." He then doffed his doctoral cap, robe, and hood, sat at the piano, and sang his hit song "Alfie" as the audience sat in rapt attention.

Among the evening's highlights was the appearance of Grammy-winning vocalist Paula Cole '90, who sang five Bacharach chestnuts, including "The Look of Love," "I Say a Little Prayer," and Walk on By." Cole and singers Didi Stewart, Aubrey Logan, Denise Hudson, and Phillip Ferrell were backed by an orchestra of 44 instruments and six background singers under the direction of Berklee's Yo Team, playing charts penned by Richard Evans, Ken Zambello, Joe Smith, Julius Williams, Jay Kennedy, and Russ Hoffman.

The event was part of the Sovereign Bank Music Series at Berklee. Annually, the college presents a tribute to composers from the Great American Songbook. Previous concerts have paid tribute to Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Stevie Wonder.