Nashville Notes

  Dave Petrelli '05
  Berklee Fund Director Stephen Rodriguez and Amanda Williams '99 at the December 16, 2009 Nashville holiday party

While much of the Northeast was shoveling snow during the holiday season, Nashville residents were treated to our characteristic wintry gray skies and cold rain. But despite the weather, we still know how to celebrate the holidays. With the help of SESAC member and Berklee alumna Amanda Williams '99, the Berklee Nashville Alumni Chapter hosted its first alumni holiday party on December 16 at the SESAC building on Music Row. More than 60 alumni attended to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and celebrate the holiday season together.

Stephen Rodriguez, the director of the Berklee Fund, traveled from Boston to visit with our alumni and bring us up to date on events at our old stomping grounds. Many alumni were pleased that a college representative attended. We hope to host more visitors from campus and build even stronger connections between Berklee and Nashville alumni. Here is what a few of our local folks have been up to of late.

Chris Holcombe '05 recently received a Hollywood Music in Media Award in the Best Folk/Acoustic category for his song "Fire Season," co-written with Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Brandon Schott '99. The track appears on Schott's latest record, Dandelion.

In March 2010, Gabriel Heiser '71 will release his debut disc, Persistence of Memory, under the artist name Gabe Hizer. Neilson Hubbard produced the 12-song album of Heiser's melodic folk-pop stylings. Visit

In January, Josh Preston '99 released the CD Every New Whole Usual Will Die by the New Whole Usuals on Me and the Machine Records. Nashville artist Andrew Dolfie conceptualized the apocalypse-themed album, featuring 32 musicians and narrators. For more information, visit the New Whole Usuals' website.

Stacy Phillips '00 released a seven-song Christmas EP before the holidays. Liz Ficalora '78 produced and engineered an album for country artist Jill Sissel.

Drummer Robert Harsen '82 recently relocated to Nashville from Los Angeles, where he spent years on the music scene. His transition to Nashville was pretty seamless; he has done demo sessions and worked with a band called the Boomers. The group has played at several local hot spots and performed live at several Nashville Predators home hockey games.

I want to wish all alumni in the Nashville community and beyond a great new decade of music making. I look forward to hearing and sharing more of our alumni success stories in 2010.

Dave Petrelli '05
Nashville Berklee Alumni Chapter Leader