Sunday, December 7, 2008

Berklee Students Pitch Profs for Inaugural Gig


Contact: Berklee College of Music
Nick Balkin, 617-747-2247

Berklee College of Music Students Campaign to Land Professors Gig at Presidential Inauguration

Boston, MA, November 25, 2008 – Fifty Berklee College of Music students have launched a grassroots campaign to help land two of their teachers, vocalist Donna McElroy and pianist Jetro da Silva, a televised performance of "America the Beautiful" at the Presidential Inauguration this January.

In support of the application filed with the Armed Services Inaugural Committee, students used YouTube to provide worldwide access to a video of McElroy and da Silva giving a stirring rendition of the piece at the 2004 inauguration of Berklee president Roger Brown.

Watch the video here:

The students’ strategy is to increase the probability of the link reaching the President-elect or his 'right-hand ears' by using the same tools and tactics used by Obama to win the election. Last week the students began rolling out email, social networks, blogs, PR and word-of-mouth efforts as means of sharing the video with the world and in hope of getting it all the way to the President-elect.

Donna McElroy is a professor of voice at Berklee, where she has taught since 1995. She is a Grammy nominee, a Dove Award-winner, and an arranger/vocalist on gold and platinum releases by Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, and BeBe and CeCe Winans. Television appearances include Tonight Show, and the Grammy Awards. Visit:

Jetro da Silva is a professor of ensemble at Berklee, as well as the former assistant chair of the piano department, and an alumnus of the college. He has performed with Whitney Houston, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Bonnie Raitt, Luther Vandross, and many others. A native of Brazil, he is a brand new US citizen who cast his first vote in this election.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry "who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow.

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