Convocation and Opening Day Events Launch Fall Semester

  Roger Brown (right) presents Panos Panay with Berklee's Distinguished Alumni Award at the fall convocation.
  Photos by Phil Farnsworth
  Paola Gonzalez Pareja and Ayumi Ueda of Women of the World sing international songs.
  Orlando Dixon is featured during an 18-song Michael Jackson tribute
  Saxophonist/vocalist Grace Kelly led her quintet.
  Dr. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein addressed faculty and staff members at the opening day breakfast.
  A drum circle welcomed students, faculty, and staff members to the opening day barbecue at Mother's Rest Park along the Fenway.
  Photos by Cynthia Bethune
  Archie L. Brewton, normally found behind the counter in Licks Café , was on hand to serve up a healthy lunch in the park.
  Photos by Cynthia Bethune



On August 31, Berklee officially welcomed the class of 2013 with a convocation program that included greetings and advice from various speakers, a distinguished alumnus award presentation, and a concert. In his remarks, President Roger Brown gave a profile of the entering class. He noted that applicants from Canada, Korea, and Japan make up the largest proportion of international students of the class. "I think this may be the first year in Berklee's history that Canada is number one on that list," Brown said. "Among our domestic students, the top three states represented are California, Massachusetts, and New York, in that order. We know you are coming from every nook and cranny of the world to be here, and the stories of how you have moved mountains to be here are really compelling."

The distinguished alumni award recipient, Panos Panay '94, is the founder of Sonicbids, a successful online tool that connects artists to agents and gigs. Panay advised the entering students to become savvy in the music business. "Don't just learn about music," he emphasized. "Learn about the very industry you're going to be a part of. It's important to arm yourself with the knowledge about how to make a living playing music."

The concert opened with the seven vocalists of Women of the World, who sang stirring traditional and original songs in various languages. Next, saxophonist and vocalist Grace Kelly offered a jazz set with her quintet, displaying extraordinary gifts for performing, composing, and leading a band. The night ended with a moving, high-energy, 18-song medley in tribute to Michael Jackson that spotlighted nine instrumentalists, seven vocalists, and several dancers.

On Friday, September 4, members of the faculty and staff gathered for breakfast and a welcome from President Brown and others. A vocal octet led by Renese King began the proceedings with the spiritual "We've Come a Long Way to Be Together," a fitting theme for the day. Brown stressed connections. "We are connected not only to each other, the entering students, or musicians we admire, but to people whose names we don't even know, whose music we hear in fragments of folk songs that have survived for millennia," he said. "Next week, I hope you will help your students connect not only with the music they already love, but also with the deepest, purest, most human elements of the music tradition we all love so much."

The morning's keynote speaker, Dr. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, is a best-selling novelist and researcher at Harvard University. She shared thoughts on understanding creativity. "The Greeks had a word for this-which we also have: ecstasy," Goldstein said. "It means to stand beside, outside yourself. That's what moments of deepest creativity can feel like. When you look back at them, it seems more appropriate to say, 'Look what happened to me' rather than 'I did it.'"

At noon, the faculty and staff made their way to a barbecue at Mother's Rest Park along the Fenway, where they greeted returning students and met new ones. The following Tuesday, September 8, classes began, and a new academic year was launched.