Faculty and Alumnus Play for Obama at Inauguration Events

Berklee Office of Communications
January 20, 2009
From left: Oscar Stagnaro, Berklee professor of bass; pianist Alex Brown; Mark Walker, professor of percussion; President-elect Barack Obama; and Berklee alumnus and trumpet player Diego Urcola.

Two Berklee professors provided the Latin rhythm behind Cuban bandleader Paquito D'Rivera at a special private concert for Barack Obama, his family, and other special guests. The setting was an indoor barbecue on Sunday, January 19 in Washington D.C. The Paquito D'Rivera band features Berklee professors Oscar Stagnaro on bass and Mark Walker on percussion.

D'Rivera and company were invited to perform for the President-elect at the storied Blair House, located across from the White House and used as the President's official guest quarters since 1942.

Walker told the Boston Globe that the group performed "So What" for President-elect Obama after learning that he is a Miles Davis fan.

The following evening, Stagnaro and Walker performed with D'Rivera at the Kennedy Center honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, in the all-star concert A Celebration of America, hosted by Wynton Marsalis and the former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Also on the bill were Berklee student and sax player Grace Kelly, along with Angela BassettCourtney B. Vance, Bela Fleck, and Dave Brubeck.