Million-Dollar Night for the 15th Annual Encore Gala

  From the left: President Roger H. Brown, actor James Brolin, Professor Livingston Taylor, Berklee President Emeritus Lee Eliot Berk and his wife, Susan G. Berk
  All photos by Phil Farnsworth
  Partygoers from lead sponsor Bain Capital (from the left:) John Connaughton, Isabelle Loring, and Steve Pagliuca
  Featured performer, vocalist Lalah Hathaway '94
  Gala guests visited seven nightclub settings with dancing and music ranging from bluegrass to hip-hop.
  From the left: Berklee Board of Trustees Chair Jeffrey Shames, Gala cochair Elliott Hillback, Roger Brown, and Gala cochair Carmichael Roberts
  Guest drummer John Blackwell '95 (center) pictured with BCMP administrators Krystal Banfield and J. Curtis Warner
  Members of the Berklee Salsa Ensemble performed in the World Music Room.
  Special Thanks to Our Encore Gala Sponsors

Principal Lead Sponsor

Bain Capital Children's Charity Ltd.

Colead Sponsors

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation

Subaru of New England

Platinum Sponsors

Abrams Capital LLC

Elliott and Marjorie Hillback

Nano Terra, Inc.

Newbury Comics

During a musical extravaganza that entertained 800 guests, Berklee celebrated its 15th Annual Encore Gala on October 17, 2009, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. In attendance were Berklee President Emeritus Lee Eliot Berk and his wife, Susan, who created the first Berklee gala in 1995 in honor of the college's 50th anniversary. This year's event raised nearly $1.3 million for the Berklee City Music Program (BCMP).

BCMP is a nonprofit education program that harnesses the potential of contemporary music to reach underserved 4th-through 12th-graders. Each year, the program brings high-quality music education to more than 900 students in Boston and across the country.

Serving as master of ceremonies, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actor James Brolin entertained the audience during dinner. Special guest performers included two celebrated alumni: drummer John Blackwell '95 and singer/songwriter Lalah Hathaway '94.

Partygoers dined and danced to the sounds of more than 150 faculty, alumni, and student musicians in seven nightclubs featuring diverse musical themes from bluegrass to r&b and big band to salsa. Berklee faculty member Darcel Wilson wowed the audience with her rendition of "Bridge over Troubled Water" during dinner and later delivered a high-energy set during the Starlight Finale.

The live and silent auctions offered great treasures, including the opportunity to bid on a catered home concert by Berklee Professor Livingston Taylor; trips to top European jazz festivals; dinner at Boston's number-one restaurant O Ya with Berklee President Roger H. Brown and Emmy Award-winning actor and director Christopher Guest; Boston Celtics game packages; exotic vacation home getaways; and more. Special thanks go to this year's Encore Gala cochair Teresa Koster and Berklee Board of Trustees members Elliott Hillback and Carmichael Roberts.

BCMP is a life-changing experience incorporating year-round instruction with expert faculty members, individualized mentoring, and a comprehensive curriculum. The effort positions program participants for acceptance to Berklee and other institutions as well as scholarship support. BCMP has been nationally recognized with the Coming Up Taller Award, an initiative of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs. For information on donating to BCMP, visit www.berklee.edu/giving.