Alum Notes



  Frank Potenza '72


Composer Roger Aldridge of Gaithersburg, MD, has written a new work dedicated to Charlie Mariano. The piece In Memory of Charlie is available at no cost to bands requesting it. Contact Aldridge at



Guitarist Frank Potenza of Lakewood, CA, is touring in support of his latest record, Old, New, Borrowed & Blue, on Capri Records Ltd. Potenza is a full professor and chair of the studio and jazz guitar department at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California, Los Angeles.




Composer Glen Roger Davis of Oxford, OH, penned two works for the CD L'Amore Italiano featuring the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and oboe soloist Andrea Jayne Ridilla. Davis's Piano Concerto in F (a rock concerto) was included on the CD Music from Six Continents, along with the Sofia Philharmonic and pianist Michael Chertock. Since 1990, Davis has been a faculty member at Miami University in Oxford, OH.

The CD From the Heart by composer Phil Fortin and his wife, Sue, of Seekonk, MA, was nominated in three categories for a 2008 United Catholic Music and Video Association Unity Award. The CD features a collection of original and cover songs for prayer and reflection. It is the follow-up to This Is the Day. Visit




David Kowal of Los Angeles, CA, finished his first film, This Is How We Dream, a documentary about singer/songwriters. Visit

Producer Rob Mounsey of Brooklyn, NY, produced Leslie Mendelson's debut album, Swan Feathers, in June. He also arranged and conducted for recent releases by Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, and Usher and for a Jacksons remix project for Universal Motown with producer Carl Sturken. Visit

Glen Roger Davis '73  

Composer and vocalist Jerry Velona of Arlington, MA, released the CD Random Emotion on Karunabird Records. The album consists of 12 original compositions and one cover and features many Berklee faculty and alumni. Visit




Tim Chamberlain of Washington, DC, served as the musical director for Gallaudet University's production of Urinetown in the spring of 2009. Chamberlain is also developing the new musical Visible Language by Mary Resing for Active Cultures Theatre and Open Circle Theatre.




Saxophonist Rick Britto of New Bedford, MA, currently teaches at Wheaton College and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Britto also served as the pianist and arranger for the CD Live by One O'Clock Jump. Visit

Guitarist Jay Ford of Westford, MA, and his wife, Donna, recently expanded the Music Maker School in Acton, MA. The facility now features nine studios and 17 instructors, including several Berklee alumni. Visit

Rick Jackson of Rockingham, NC, is the drummer for the Texas-based guitarist and recording artist Danny Cowan and the Danny Cowan Band. Visit



Composer Noah Agruss of Los Angeles, CA, has recently completed work on the Lions Gate feature Five Fingers starring Laurence Fishburne and Ryan Phillippe. He also worked on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

Guitarist Jon Catler of New York City leads the modern electric Delta blues band Willie McBlind. The group's latest CD is titled Bad Thing. Visit

  Jerry Velona '75



Brian Berns of Tacoma, WA, is the music minister at Lutheran Church of Christ the King in Tacoma and writes songs, hymns, and other music promoting peace.

Ralph Fava of Lockport, NY, the founder and director of the Lockport Music Center, will celebrate 25 years of music instruction and retail business in 2010. He also leads the Ralph Fava Trio and is the vice president of the union chapter Local 97 Lockport Federation of Musicians. Visit

Flutist Constance Kirschbaum of White House, TN, works with the Heritage High School Band in White House and at Kroger Accounting Services Center in Nashville.

Drummer Dean Lopes of Reseda, CA, has launched a new line of clothing and accessories for musicians called Drummadness. His production music can be heard on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Visit

Multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson of Teaneck, NJ, released his newest CD, Forever Lasting, featuring his arrangements of music by Thad Jones. Visit

Guitarist Frank Singer of Erie, PA, released And That's OK, featuring vocalist Joe Dorris. Singer also contributed to the CD Armed and Dangerous by One World Tribe Visit

Drummer Bill Spoke of Hollywood, CA, played on the CDs Sure Signs (by Jason Saulon) and See You in the Morning (by the L.A. Bluescasters). Both discs are available at CD Baby. Visit and

Luthier Charles P. Thornton Jr. of Auburn, ME, operates Cp Thornton Guitars in Turner, ME. The company has designed innovative acoustic and electric guitar models. Visit

Guitarist Bob Wolfman of Topsfield, MA, released the new CD The Howl. Visit



Trumpeter and keyboardist Jeffrey Hudson of Greencastle, IN, plays with the bands Kik Axe and Radio Active. He also teaches at All about Music in Indianapolis, IN. Visit



Tom Love of Rancho Dominguez, CA, was promoted to the position of senior manager of electronics at Kawai America and Kawai Canada. He is also Kawai's senior manager of Internet marketing.



Mitch Clyman '88  

Trombonist Mark McGrain of New Orleans, LA, released Dancing on Thin Ice on Immersion Records & Media with his trio Plunge. The group features Tim Green and James Singleton. Plunge also released Falling with Grace-24 bit Remastered in September. Visit




Songwriter Eric Schweitzer of Raleigh, NC, has released the album Hearing Things with his band the Finger Puppets. Visit



Vocalist Carlos Merriweather of Louisville, KY, founded Tony Dollars International Satellite Radio Broadcast to promote compassionate music. The group accepts all kinds of original songs with lyrics reflecting compassion. Selected songs will also be considered for the Memoirs of Tony Dollars CD. Visit

Guitarist Daniel Overberger of Hollywood, CA, has completed an instructional CD and book on yoga and his travels in India. The CD includes his yoga class and music from the documentary Radhamma's Dream, which was recorded during Overberger's studies in India.



  Anders Mogensen '91

Jazz Bassist Terje Gewelt of Oslo, Norway, released the CD Oslo, which features Enrico Pieranunzi (piano) and Anders Kjellberg (drums). Visit

Songwriter Satoko Kajita of Brooklyn, NY, produced her debut CD, Life, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Aki Nishimura at Avatar Studios. Kajita plays the sanshin, a three-stringed guitar from Okinawa, Japan, on the CD and is joined by Yoko Komori on piano. Visit

The album Ain't What You Know by songwriter Bob Malone of Hollywood, CA, has received four nominations in this year's Just Plain Folks Music Awards. Visit




Composer Mitch Clyman of Jerusalem, Israel, worked on ADR for the upcoming Miramax release The Debt with director John Madden. Clyman is also writing music for the animated children's series TJ and Pals.



Bassist Erik Applegate of Greeley, CO, released the CD Red Skies featuring his original tunes. Applegate was backed by pianist Dana Landry '89, guitarist Steve Kovalcheck, and drummer Jim White.



Karl Aranjo '92  

Composer John Alexander of Greensboro, NC, is working at Notion Music-a company founded by former Berklee Department of Composition Chair Jack Jarrett-developing software.

Drummer David "The Young Professor" Cowan of Los Angeles, CA, appears on the newly released EP Nothing More to Say by Adjoa Skinner. He also works with One Tribe Nation and singers Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Cowan received the 2009 Japan Foundation Uchida Fellowship. Visit

Singer/songwriter Heather Edwards released her third CD, Go with the Flow, in September. Produced by Richie Goods '91, the disc features 10 original songs in various styles. Visit



Kelly Farrell of Burbank, CA, is the vice president of TCS Productions LLC, an independent film company in Los Angeles founded by her husband, Tobe Sexton. Her directorial premiere was the 2005 short film The Green Faerie. Upcoming projects include Marguerite (2009), Milo (2010), and The Red Canvas (2010).

Drummer Anders Mogensen of Copenhagen, Denmark, released the new CD Gratitude in July. Visit:



Guitarist Karl Aranjo of Irvine, CA, created the instructional books Guitar Buddy: Blueprint for Hot Guitar and Cool Chords, and the CD Easy Bluegrass Guitar for Professional Music Institute. Aranjo also created the Ultimate Learn Guitar Lesson Poster and a distance-learning website ( He is a private instructor and an active performer in Southern California.

Bassist Ivan "Funkboy" Bodley of Brooklyn, NY, appears in the upcoming Barry Levinson documentary Poliwood, as the musical director and bassist leading the band behind singer Sam Moore and special guests Elvis Costello and Sting. Visit

  Jason Davis '94

Composer Dave Pierce of Calgary, Canada, has been appointed as the music director of the opening, closing, and victory ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Visit

Drummer Michael Powers of Wakefield, MA, has formed the British Invasion tribute band Ready Steady GO! The group includes alum Tony Vatousios '92. Visit

James Sale of Pasadena, CA, orchestrated and conducted the score for the new Sony feature film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.



Pianist James M. Dower of New York City teaches at the Allstar Music Academy in Flemington, NJ, and plays with Sam Moore. His original music has been featured on MTV Cribs as well as in NASCAR promos and independent films. Visit

Composer Steve McAllister of Austin, TX, has created the album The Silver Key with his band the Weirdo Deluxe. Performers include Ian McLagan (of Small Faces), Dave Gregory (of XTC), and many others. Visit

Composer Mark Sensinger of Andover, MA, had his newest work, Suite in D for Harp and Orchestra: The Taiwan Sketches, performed by the Northeast Symphony Orchestra in North Conway, NH. The orchestra was led by Clayton Poole with harp soloist Kathleen Lyon Pingree.



"Metal" Mike Chlasciak of North Arlington, NJ, appears on the 2009 DVD/Blu-ray release Halford-Crucible World Tour featuring Judas Priest front man Rob Halford. The DVD is out via Metal God/Fontana/Universal. Visit

Bassist Jason Davis of Brighton, MA, released Movement with the band Earthsound. It features a mix of jazz, world music, and improvisation with environmental sound. The group includes flutist Fernando Brandão, pianist Nando Michelin '91, and Jorge Perez-Albela '96. Visit

Henrique de Almeida '94  

Henrique De Almeida of Colorado Springs, CO, is the drummer for the U.S. Air Force big band the Falconaires. He has created instructional DVDs, penned a book on Brazilian rhythms, and released a pair of CDs. Visit

Songwriter and producer Angel Valverde of Barcelona, Spain, is the education chair for Spain's largest audio school, Microfusa School of Sound. He also writes and produces children's music and directs musicals in the Barcelona area.



Vocalist Jen Chapin of Brooklyn, NY, released the album ReVisions: Songs of Stevie Wonder on Chesky Records. Visit

Guitarist Roland Gebhardt of Germany has released the CD European Jazz Guitar Trio. Visit

Guitarist Wes Mingus of Brooklyn, NY, and the Brooklyn-based soul group the Revelations (featuring Tre Williams) released an EP entitled Deep Soul and will release a full-length CD on Traffic Entertainment. Mingus also cowrote and coproduced a compilation album from the Wu-Tang Clan called Chamber Music, Vol. 1.

Pianist and composer Mika Pohjola of New York City released Northern Sunrise on the Blue Music Group jazz label. The CD includes contributions by Steve Wilson, Ben Monder, Massimo Biolcati '99, and Mark Ferber. Visit



Fernando Benadon of Washington, DC, was awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship for his debut album, Intuitivo, on Innova Recordings. Visit

Vocalist Deanna Della Cioppa of Tarzana, CA, won $350,000 on the TV game show Don't Forget the Lyrics.

Johan "Jones" Wetterberg of Sweden finished writing and producing an album for Swedish pop-soul singer Pauline. Visit

  Victor Prieto '98



Drummer Ron Lowder Jr. of Newport News, VA, owns and operates the Academy of Rock Music. With locations in Newport News and Virginia Beach, the academy offers 140 students between the ages of 9 and 18 the opportunity to perform rock and roll songs with their peers.

Guitarist Joel Jackson of Portland, OR, has opened the Great Hall Restaurant featuring fine food and music. Jackson and other local musicians perform every weekend.

Songwriter Jodi Stevens of Sutton, MA, had one of her original tunes chosen for the compilation CD Jaguar on Leaping Cat Records. Visit

Accordionist and composer Victor Prieto of New York City released Rollo-Coaster on Cheekus Music in September. The album features saxophonist Chris Cheek '91. Visit

Singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer Amy Ward recently placed her song "So Much More" in the movie Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs. Visit



Singer/songwriter Chiara Civello of Brooklyn, NY, released The Space Between in Italy through L'Espresso Magazine on August 7 for the series Femminile Particolare. Republica is releasing a bonus version of "Moonriver" and "Que Reste Til de Nous Amours" on its Chill Out compilation. She also recorded a duet called "Lacrime di Coccodrillo" with Italian singer/songwriter Joe Barbieri to be released on his new CD Maison Marvilla. Visit

Chiara Civello '98  

Songwriter Brooke Fox of Brooklyn, NY, collaborated with Italian performance and video artist Francesca Grilli on the new piece Moth, which was presented at the annual Drodesera Festival. Visit



Vocalist K. Ishibashi of Brooklyn, NY, and the band Juniper One released Sunshower in September. Ishibashi is joined by bassist Pat Dougherty '01 and former Juniper One violinist/keyboardist Keiko Watanabe '02. The band also landed the highly coveted opening slot on Regina Spektor's tour through November. Visit



Drummer J.L. Claybourne of West Hartford, CT, is working on an album with Mike Greca and performing with the Enemy Concept and Ian Charles.

  Elan Trotman '01
  Gemma Genazzano '02

Composer Wydell Croom of Nashville, TN, is launching his own music soundtrack business, which offers custom arrangements for any song needed by a client. Visit

Drummer Joseph Goretti of Rego Park, NY, performs with Richard Street of the Temptations, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, and r&b artist Ne-Yo. Goretti appeared with Ne-Yo on late-night TV shows to promote the CD Year of the Gentleman. He also teaches at schools in the New York City area.



Guitarist Francesco Guaiana of Palermo, Italy, has released the album The Spoiled Tree with his trio Triptyue for Fitzcarraldo Records. Visit

Keyboardist Mike Schmid of Hollywood, CA, has played with Miley Cyrus for two years and also worked with the Jonas Brothers, Aly & AJ, Chantal Kreviazuk, and others. Schmid is currently completing his fifth album.

The musical Gloria by composer Raphael Thöne of Moers, Germany, was performed at Brandenburg's Stahlpalast in August. It will also be staged in November and December 2009 and in January 2010. Visit

Saxophonist Elan Trotman of Mattapan, MA, released the CD This Time Around in June, which quickly charted on's Top 50 and Jazz Week Smooth Jazz Top 50. Visit



Singer/songwriter Gemma Genazzano of New York City released a Latin-soul CD entitled Si Me Quieres (If You Love Me). The album was produced and and its songs cowritten by Marlon Saunders '89 and Greg Dayton '89. The video for the single "Take Me Away" aired on HBO Latino and HBO Zone. Visit

Jeff Kalmbach of Oakland, CA, released the CD Camaro 68 with his band RubberSideDown. He also toured the Dominican Republic with a Police cover band. Visit

Guitarists David Moorhead of Randolph, MA, and Trevor Jones '01 of Plymouth, MA, released their debut CD, Drift, under the group name Gaslight Revival. Moorhead also owns and operates Hey Now Records, an independent recording studio and label. Visit



Tom Gallo '03  

Bassist Tom Gallo of Medford, MA, and his band Violet Nine were featured on Kanye West and Malik Yusef's album Good Morning, Good Night on West's G.O.O.D. Music label. It features Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Common, Adam Levine, and Michelle Williams. Visit

Saxophonist Dylan Heaney of Brooklyn, NY, and Jordan Perlson '04 released Vast, a debut full-length album by the East West Quintet. Visit

J.J. Lee and Chris Lord '05 of Los Angeles, CA, are award-winning film composers. Lee recently received the BMI/Jerry Goldsmith Scholarship, and Lord was named this year's Sundance Composer Fellow. Visit



Vocalist and composer Christie (Yih) Chong of Pasadena, CA, co-composed music for the movie Labou, which won several awards. In July, Chong sang background vocals for Asian pop star Coco Lee with bassist Philip Bynoe '81 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

  From the left: Asian pop star Coco Lee and Christine Chong '04

Drummer Yotam Rosenbaum of Los Angeles, CA, released Peace, Love and Cold Hard Cash with his band the Capitalist Hippie Complex. Visit

Vocalist Christine Vaindirlis of Brooklyn, NY, released her debut album, Dance Mama! Among the featured musicians are Hiromi Uehara '83, Bakithi Kumalo, Tony Cedras, and others. Visit



Weston Fonger of Brooklyn, NY, was the winner of Post Magazine and Blastwave FX's Sound Design Competition in February 2009. Visit

Vernon Phillip Hill IV of Los Angeles, CA, was hired as an associate attorney at Walsworth, Franklin, Bevins & McCall LLP in Orange County, CA.

Christine Vaindirlis '04  
Stefano Switala '05  

Singer/songwriter Francesca Reggio of Woburn, MA, released the six-song EP State of Motion with her group Francesca Reggio & Blue Shift. The band includes drummer Lou Paniccia '05 and keyboardist Pamela Gouveia '05. Andreas Farmakalidis '08 plays at live performances. Visit

Composer Stefano Switala of Rome, Italy, received the Nino Rota Junior Award for best young composer for visuals at the Ravello & Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. Switala composes for film, TV, and theater.

Vocalist Natalie Fernandez of Los Angeles, CA, is working on the album A Voice in a World of Echoes. Visit

Drummer Nicholas Falk of Astoria, NY, plays with Eric Robertson, Nate Leath '06, Sam Grisman, and Stash Wyslouch (of the Boston Boys) on the group's debut album, Listen. They played at bluegrass festivals last summer.



Guitarist Aurelien Budynek of Astoria, NY, recently completed a three-week tour across Europe playing with the Cindy Blackman Group. The lineup includes Vernon Reid of Living Colour on guitar and bassist Steve Jenkins. Visit

Bassist Ho Gyu Hwang of Boston, MA, works with the Takeshi Obayashi Trio, Cedric Hanriot's French Stories project, and the Terri Lyne Carrington Group.

Belinda McIlvaine of Milton, MA, took first place at the Showtime at the Apollo talent showcase.



Trumpeter/composer Gordon Au of Brooklyn, NY, and Vadim Neselovskyi '04 went on the U.S. State Department's Living Dream tour of India commemorating the 50th anniversary of a visit by Martin Luther King, Jr. to study Gandhi's nonviolence principles. They joined Martin Luther King III, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Kahn, George Duke, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and James Genus.

Vocalist Claudia Eliaza of Boston, MA, recently completed a five-city tour of Russia to work with students and perform on TV and in concerts.

  Aurelein Budynek '06

Jazz vocalist Pauline Jean of New York City released her debut album, A Musical Offering, featuring Marcelo Woloski '07 and Thaddeus Hogarth '88, among others. She also led the "Tribute to Nina Simone" at the Cabaret at the Connoisseur Room and performed at the Women in Jazz and JVC Jazz festivals. Visit

Bassist Chris Joye of Chicago, IL, is a freelance film composer. He wrote additional cues for MTV's Engaged and Underage reality TV show.

Composer Joe Matzzie of West Hollywood, CA, has been a consultant for Kingdom 2, a music licensing company. Visit

Recording engineer Shane O'Connor of Boston, MA, operates Barefoot Recording Studio in Brighton, MA, where he recorded CDs by Birds in the Woods, Tab the Band, Madi Diaz, and others. Visit

Bassist Daniel Ori of New York City completed his debut solo album, So It Goes, with help from Uri Gurvich '05 (saxophone), Eric Doob '06 (drums), Marcelo Woloski '07 (percussion), and Jeff Miles '08 (guitar). Visit

Daniel Ori '07  

Guitarist Dani Rabin and saxophonist Danny Markovitch of Chicago, IL, formed Marbin, an ambient jazz duo and released their self-titled debut CD. They are also featured on drummer Paul Wertico's CD Impressions of a City. Visit

Guitarist Az Samad of Berkeley, CA, is featured on the compilation CD for the Italian magazine New Age and New Sounds and will release his second instrumental acoustic guitar album this fall. Samad is pursuing a master's degree in jazz studies at San José State University. Visit



Producer Nick Ditri of Red Bank, NJ, is expanding his company Arkatone Music Group Ltd. to Los Angeles and New York. Ditri and his partners have placed music in television shows on A&E, Spike TV, and Fox Sports. Visit

Drummer Ryan Eber of Orlando, FL, released Serenity's a Wreck, the debut CD by his band Baby Made Rebel, which features Andrew Maltese '08 on keys and Lance Riley '07 on guitar. The band recorded, self-produced, and mixed the project with Bryan Percival '09. Visit

  Erin Lyder '09

Saxophonist Godwin Louis of New York City performs with La Timbistica, the Either/Orchestra, and the Francesco Marcocci Sextet.




Kristen Deiudicibus of Tampa, FL, owns Stereo Bear Clothing, an apparel and music company. Each piece of merchandise comes with a free downloadable album by new artists. The company's roster includes 25 rising artists from across the nation. Visit

Singer/songwriter Erin Lyder of Dorchester, MA, was a semifinalist on this season's Gospel Dream, which aired on the Gospel Music Channel. The American Idol-style competition featured judges Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, gospel artist J. Moss, and music industry executive Mitchell Solarek.

Bassist Evan Marien of Decatur, IL, was voted one of the "most exciting new players" in a reader's choice poll in the July 2009 issue of Bass Player magazine. Visit

Trumpeter Russell William Buss '09, saxophonist Godwin Louis '08, bassist '06, pianist Victor Gould '09, and drummer Nicholas Falk '05 were selected for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance class of 2011.