Alumni Beat

  The Los Angeles alumnae networking group Women in Tune during a September hike. Back row, from the left: Jill Krachmer '07, Renee Winter '03, Neara Russell '10, Casey McCoy '11, Tessa Phillips '11, Katy Eggleton '11, and Meg Todd '09; front row: Sylvie Simhon '10, Justine Taormino '06, Dana Wilentz '11, Amy Cuadra '11.
  Students Joshua Young and Patrick Sims look on as fellow student Jordan Rose drums for guitarist Tariqh Akoni '91 during an impromptu jam session at Berklee in July. Akoni, the musical director for Josh Groban, visited with students in between tour stops.
  Karen Bell
  Sugarland bassist Annie Clements '03 (front row center, in leopard-pattern top) was the guest speaker at a luncheon for female students and staff members in July.
  Jim Ricciuti
  From the left: Emil Viklicky '78, Berklee today editor Mark Small and David Doruzka '02 met in Prague at an informal alumni gathering in August.
  Alex Sedlak
  Drummer Nate Morton '94 (center) invited a group of students and alumni to his performance with the touring company of the TV show The Voice in August.
  Karen Bell

In my new role as chief alumni affairs officer, one of my goals for the college is to strengthen alumni-student connections. One of my efforts will involve creating and supporting opportunities that enable students to hear from alumni who have encountered success in music and business, offering more of the real-world information which students often clamor for.

Guitarist Tariqh Akoni '91 is the musical director for Josh Groban. When the singer's tour made its way to Boston on July 25, Akoni generously agreed to spend some time at Berklee. He visited classes, caught up with some of his favorite faculty members and friends, led a master class for students, and ended the day imparting his wisdom and musical experiences to a roomful of students until midnight. He talked candidly about the scene in Los Angeles and expectations for professional, working musicians there.

Nate Morton '94 played drums on the first season of Mark Burnett's newest television show The Voice. When the touring version of the show stopped in Boston on August 4, Morton arranged for a group of 10 students and alumni to attend the sound check, the show, and to have backstage access. The students thoroughly enjoyed seeing Morton in action and asking him questions. Tune in to watch him on the second season of The Voice.

Bringing female alumni together with female students is another facet of the alumni-student connection we are fostering. Berklee is making a point to create more support for its female students through the Berklee Gems: Women Raising Awareness & Responsibility in Entertainment program. The program includes mentoring opportunities, discussions and forums, and role modeling. On July 21, alumna Annie Clements '03 was on hand for the launch of the Gems program as our first speaker and addressed a group of female students and staff members at a luncheon. The students were thrilled at the chance to ask questions about Clements's musical journey and experiences as the bassist for the Grammy Award-winning group Sugarland.

Another women's initiative on the West Coast, Women in Tune, is an L.A.-based networking group for Berklee alumnae navigating the music industry. The group's aim is to empower, connect, and celebrate Berklee alumnae and other women in the industry. For their first Women in Tune event in September, a lively bunch joined together at Studio City Park for some networking on the move. They discussed work and life in Los Angeles as they hiked the trails.

Following a final committee meeting, the results of the Berklee Alumni Grant Program 2011-2012 will be posted by the end of October at The next issue of Berklee today will also publish a list of the winners. Thanks go to all who submitted proposals.

Until next time, take care.

-Karen Bell, '90
Chief Alumni Affairs Officer