Slideshow: Berklee Kicks off New School Year

Belinda Huang
September 16, 2016
Wide shot of the BPC during the opening of convocation.
Peer advisors cheer for new students.
Roger Brown speaks at Convocation.
Desmond sings and plays his original songs.
Desmond's background singers raise their hands in the air as they perform.
Percussionist Taku Hirano plays congas opening Convocation.
Boco president Richard Ortner speaks during opening day.
 Keynote speaker Stefon Harris plays vibraphone to explain his points.
Students dance to the drums during the BBQ.
A student signs up for a club at the BBQ.
Berklee welcomes new students and their families at the convocation concert on the first day of orientation week for the 2016–2017 academic year.
Peer advisors help get the crowd excited about the beginning of the new students' Berklee journey.
President Roger H. Brown makes opening remarks, encouraging students to be present and embrace their new global community.
Desmond Scaife Jr. '16 performs a rendition of Adele's "Someone Like You."
Scaife's background vocalists enthusiastically raise their hands.
Accomplished percussionist Taku Hirano '95, who has performed with Fleetwood Mac, Whitney Houston, and Lionel Richie, among others, plays passionately with Scaife's band.
Boston Conservatory at Berklee President Richard Ortner discusses his excitement about the recent merger with Berklee during Opening Day on Friday, September 2.
Opening Day keynote speaker Stefon Harris inspires faculty and staff to lead through empathy and to be "gifted listeners."
Entering students dance and get to know one another at the Welcome Back Barbecue.
A student signs up to get involved with a club at the barbecue.
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Mike Spencer

Berklee celebrated the start of the 2016–2017 academic year by welcoming entering students and their families to campus during a festive orientation week, which began with a convocation concert on Sunday, August 28 and ended with Opening Day and a Welcome Back Barbecue on Friday, September 2.

During the convocation concert, students and their families were greeted by a group of lively peer advisors who lined the hall of the Berklee Performance Center (BPC) entrance, followed by an energetic, rhythmic performance by Bloco AfroBrazil, which ushered the speakers onto the stage. The event featured several speeches, including those by President Roger H. Brown and Betsy Newman, senior vice president for student enrollment and engagement.

"It is so important to know that you are enough," Newman said. “Finding your voice is not a journey to resolve your inadequacies or shortcomings. Rather, it is a journey to better understand and embrace your unique gifts that have guided you here to Berklee in the first place.”

President Brown inspired students by highlighting successful Berklee graduates who have gone on to win Grammys, score acclaimed films, and tour the world. Convocation concluded with a dynamic performance by recent alumnus Desmond Scaife Jr. '16 and noted percussionist Taku Hirano '95, who has performed with Dr. Dre, Bette Midler, John Mayer, and Cirque Du Soleil, among others.

Watch Desmond Scaife Jr.'s cover of Adele's "Someone Like You":

Faculty and staff also celebrated the beginning of the new school year at Opening Day, an annual event where they reaffirmed their commitment to serving the students. It was the first such event including Boston Conservatory at Berklee faculty and staff, and Richard Ortner, the conservatory's president, remarked upon the excitement that the merged institution has generated.

The event's keynote speaker, celebrated vibraphonist and composer Stefon Harris, advised educators to hold strong the core values of love, trust, and respect as they empower both the teacher and the student to be vulnerable, authentic, and creative.

Read about the beginning of the academic year on Berkee's Valencia campus

“In many ways, people look at vulnerability as if it’s a weakness," Harris said. "But it really is one of the ultimate strengths in art because it creates space for connectivity between individuals."

That connectivity was on display soon after at the Welcome Back Barbecue at Boston's Mothers Rest Park, where students and faculty reached out to new and familiar faces alike on a sunny afternoon filled with music, dancing, hot dogs, and ice cream. Entering students interfaced with returning students for the first time, eagerly signing up for a variety of clubs on campus from the Film Scoring Network to the Audio Engineering Society and the Ultimate Frisbee Club to the Berklee Christian Fellowship, to name just a few.

View the slideshow above for photos from the first week of the 2016–2017 year.