Amplify Berklee

City Music student singing

We are thrilled to report that Amplify Berklee raised over $1.2 million dollars in support of scholarships for Berklee City Music students on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Westin Copley Place.

Thank you to our committee chairs Sandhya and Craig Douglas, elite sponsor Abrams Capital, premier sponsors Aramark, the Boston Celtics Shamrock FoundationBill and Kelly Kaiser '23P, board chair Marty Mannion and his wife Tristin, and all of our other sponsors and supporters who made the event possible.

Amplify Berklee Gala photo of attendees
MC Lyte at Gala

Amplify Berklee Gala Committee

Sandhya Douglas, Committee Chair 
Craig Douglas, Committee Chair 
Gloria Estefan ’07H, ’16P, Honorary Member   
Emilio Estefan ’07H, ’16P, Honorary Member  
Bryan Abreu ’04 
Paul Deninger 
Jessica Donohue 
Chris Halaby ’18  
Steve Holtzman 
Grace Kelly ’12 
David Mash ’76 
Kaitlin Passafaro  
Colette Phillips 
Carmichael Roberts 
Ron Savage ’84 
Alison Vieira 
Richard Vieira  
Tarik Ward

 Special Guests

Malcom Jamal-Warner in red suit

Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Emcee

Malcolm-Jamal Warner has become known in the entertainment business for his seasoned acting talents and his accomplishments in music, directing and producing. As an Emmy-nominated actor and Grammy Award–winner, Warner has positioned himself as one of the most accomplished talents in the industry today. As a staple in television and film for nearly 30 years, Warner first rose to national prominence by starring on the long-running classic television series The Cosby Show.

Warner has appeared in many acclaimed television series and feature films and his voice may be as well known as his likeness; for four seasons he was heard as the voice of the producer on the beloved PBS series, The Magic School Bus. He has stepped behind the camera as a seasoned director for both film and television and taken the stage in a variety of off-Broadway and regional theater productions. He is the recipient of a NAACP Theater Award for Best Supporting Actor for the off-Broadway play Cryin’ Shame.

When not acting and directing, Warner is a poet and bass player. He recently performed alongside the Berklee City Music jazz ensemble during an August 2023 concert.

MC Lyte DJ

MC Lyte, DJ

A legend in the world of music and entertainment, MC Lyte is a pioneering artist and actress of television and film. Her groundbreaking music career spans 30 years. She was the first female rapper ever to be nominated for a Grammy Award, the first rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall and the first female artist to earn a gold single. She currently serves on the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council.

Recent film and television credits include S.W.A.T., Power, Queen of the South, Patti Cake$, Girls Trip, and more. She has also successfully taken on the roles of creator, executive producer and director—with many upcoming projects in various stages of development. MC Lyte serves as the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc., a full-service entertainment management and production firm that provides executive leadership and customized strategies in the areas of celebrity/artist support, development, and management; brand development and management; wealth maintenance; community affairs and outreach; and production /creative services. 

As an author, motivational speaker and philanthropist, MC Lyte has written books and speaks globally on many inspiring topics, from her vast knowledge of the entertainment and hip-hop industries to entrepreneurism and economic empowerment.  


Berklee City Music All-Star Band

Berklee City Music Alumni Band

The Berklee City Music Alumni Band, highlighting some of Berklee City Music’s best and brightest alumni talent, will set the stage for the evening’s festivities with an eclectic mix of straight ahead jazz, fusion, contemporary R&B, and soul.

City Music Ensemble

Berklee City Music All-Star Band Featuring City Music Ambassador Keyon Harrold

Directed by Berklee alum and City Music teaching artist Tyson Jackson B.M. ‘19, M.M. ‘20, the Berklee City Music All-Star Band features several advanced High School Academy students from the Boston area alongside our very own Berklee City Music ambassador—trumpeter, vocalist, and composer Keyon Harrold—playing contemporary jazz and R&B selections from his latest project.

Guy and Ian

Guy Gottesfeld and Ian Coury

This nylon-string guitar and 10-string Brazilian mandolin (bandolim) duo recently formed at Berklee, but have been thrilling the acoustic world for years in their respective homelands. Hailing from Israel, Gottesfeld combines his blues roots with Brazilian and folkloric music. And at only 21 years old, Coury is one of Brazil’s most respected bandolim players. Fusing their cultures with creative and technical prowess, they move and inspire audiences wherever they go. 

Berklee Hip Hop Ensemble

Hip-Hop Ensemble

Under the expert direction of faculty member, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, MC, and Berklee alumnus Brian “Raydar” Ellis B.M. '06, this interdisciplinary ensemble performs and tracks the history of hip-hop culture and its influences. The ensemble will be joined by a collective of hip-hop dancers and b-boy, b-girl breakers from Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road

Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road

Berklee student and multi-instrumentalist Liam Purcell and his award-winning bluegrass and roots music ensemble draw on their rich and storied Appalachian heritage while boldly writing and arranging new music of their own, offering countless connections between the genre's origins and its future.

Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble

Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble

This eclectic ensemble, led by faculty member Christiane Karam B.M. '03, will perform traditional and contemporary music from North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Its colorful repertoire features odd meters and traditional rhythmic cycles, as well as traditional Arabic modes—exploring their place in contemporary composition and improvisation.


Upper Structure group photo

Upper Structure

Continuing the momentum of its championship win at the 2023 Los Angeles A Cappella Festival, Berklee’s co-ed a cappella group will perform a mix of styles: pop, rock, gospel, R&B, and soul under faculty mentor and Berklee City Music alumna Nichelle Mungo B.M. '97.

Old Days Ensemble

Old Days: A Tribute to Chicago

Berklee students in this 10-piece rock band with horns will perform the enduring hits of American supergroup Chicago, transporting audiences to the past while intriguing and engaging a new generation of listeners.


Estefanía Núñez Villamandos

Estefanía Núñez Villamandos Group

Featuring the talents of Cuban pianist, singer, arranger and bandleader Estefanía Núñez Villamandos '23 B.M. '23—a recent Berklee alumna—this dynamic student group will present a high-octane set of Latin American and Cuban music, in addition to Caribbean folklore and Latin jazz.

Eguie Castrillo on drums

Eguie Castrillo Salsa Orchestra

An energetic program from Berklee percussion professor Eguie Castrillo and his Salsa Orchestra will feature a sizzling mix of Latin music, mambo, salsa of the ’70s and ’80s, bachata and calypso. The orchestra will be joined by dancers from Boston Conservatory at Berklee performing and engaging the crowd in salsa and Latin dance styles.