The 2020 Encore Gala was unlike any other virtual fundraiser, showcasing a wide variety of musical genres with several rooms featuring performances by student, alumni, and celebrity artists.
All proceeds supported the Berklee City Music® program. Founded over 26 years ago, City Music works with marginalized communities to help develop talented youth and provide them with pathways to college, through both in-person and virtual classrooms.
Encore Gala Program
Our Encore Gala program featured remarks from Berklee leadership, a sampling of our music rooms, and special appearances by Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest ’07H, Gloria and Emilio Estefan ’07H ’16P, Quincy Jones ’51 ’83H, LL Cool J ’24P, Alex Lacamoire B.M. ’95 ’19H, Rickey Minor, David Ortiz, and Sinbad.
The Encore Gala program included a sampling of our six music rooms featuring the artists below.
R&B and Soul Mixtape
Featuring: DREION B.M. ’20 and his high-intensity band Legacy
Having graduated summa cum laude last May with a degree in songwriting, DREION brought that James Brown funk, with an electrifying performance that had viewers dancing at home. His set of original music included two songs featured in Foster Boy, a new movie produced by Shaquille O’Neal.
Featuring: Grace Kelly B.M. ’12
An unequivocal musical prodigy, the singer, saxophonist, songwriter, composer, and band leader Grace Kelly has rocked the jazz world with sold-out concerts, 13 acclaimed albums, and a résumé that includes playing with jazz legends, performing at the Hollywood Bowl, and being part of the house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, all before reaching her mid-20s.
Sounds of India
With their viral videos receiving over 182 million views, the Berklee Indian Ensemble brings to fore a new Indian sound melding classical, folk, Sufi, and contemporary Indian music with hip-hop, jazz, Middle Eastern, and African flavors. The ensemble, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2021, was proud to premiere at the Encore Gala new collaborations with Indian legends, vocal megastar Shreya Ghoshal and Grammy-winning tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, along with two brand new student originals.
Featuring: Esperanza Delgado
A current Berklee student, Esperanza Delgado and her band joined us all the way from the historic Los Jardines del Alcazar, the royal palace gardens in Córdoba, Spain, with music from the Latin Mediterranean coast.
Roots and Branches Room
Featuring: The Ruta Beggars
Band members Micah Nicol B.M. ’20 (guitar), Sofia Chiarandini B.M. ’20 (fiddle), Ariel Wyner B.M. ’19 (mandolin), Trevin Nelson (banjo), and Noah Harrington B.M. ’20 (bass) met and studied together in the American Roots Music Program at Berklee. The Ruta Beggars infuse traditional bluegrass and early swing to create a timeless act filled with foot tappin' grooves, intricate vocal harmonies, and fiery, virtuosic instrumentals.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a founding member of hip-hop group Run-DMC and is considered one of the pioneers of hip-hop culture. Run-DMC boasts a string of hit records, and they are the first rap group to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. DJ Charlie Chan Soprano has been synonymous with the culture of hip-hop in St. Louis, Missouri, since the late 1980s and has been spinning for DMC since 2010.
The evening included a special musical highlight from renowned singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007, Browne is known for his activism and hit songs “Doctor My Eyes” and “Running on Empty.”
We ended on a high note with Steve Winwood ’08H. A legendary singer-songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, and mandolin player, Winwood is also a producer and Grammy winner who has sold over 50 million records in the course of his five-decade career. His top hits include "Higher Love," "Gimme Some Lovin,'" and "Back in the High Life Again."
Berklee is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 04-2300472.