Berklee’s 27th Encore Gala Raises More than $1.2 Million

The virtual event featured performances from Tia Fuller, Paula Cole, Fred Wesley and the New JBs, Grace Kinstler, and many more.

October 29, 2021

Berklee raised over $1.2 million in support of the Berklee City Music program at the 2021 Encore Gala, which featured over 70 faculty, student, and alumni musicians from over a dozen countries, along with an array of high-profile guests.

This year's event, which was held virtually on Friday, October 22, began with remarks from Berklee leadership, and included special guest appearances by Gloria and Emilio Estefan ’07H, Ray Greene B.M. ’96, Donald Harrison ’81 ’21H, and Nile Rodgers ’18H. 

Grammy-nominated faculty saxophonist Tia Fuller led a group of City Music scholars in a special performance featuring members of the new City Music Ambassador program, including songwriter, producer, and composer Theron Feemster ’00; trombonist Kameron Whalum; Grammy-winning keyboardist, composer, and bandleader Ondřej Pivec; jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold; producer Michael Refuerzo; and singer-songwriter Niu Raza B.M. ’18. Berklee City Music's inaugural anthem, “That Feeling,” and the song's official music video, were also premiered at the event. 

Watch the music video for "That Feeling": 

The event's musical program consisted of several special guest performances, including Berklee visiting scholar Paula Cole B.M. ’90 and Berklee student and American Idol finalist Grace Kinstler. Student and alumni artists Sheila del Bosque Quartet, Brandon Harris & Friends, and Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road treated viewers to a range of musical genres, while the Starlight Finale featured legendary funk forefather and trombonist Fred Wesley and his band, the New JBs.

Proceeds from the Encore Gala support Berklee City Music, a recognized leader in creative youth development. Founded 28 years ago, City Music works with marginalized communities, both through in-person and virtual classrooms, to help develop talented youth and provide them with pathways to college. City Music reaches thousands of students in Greater Boston and across the country, and provides vulnerable youth an opportunity to develop their talents and express their voices in a safe, supportive environment. 

The Encore Gala's co-presenting sponsors included Abrams Capital and Bain Capital Community Partnership, with co-chairs Sandhya S. and Craig S. Douglas, and Andrew and Mariann Youniss.