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Berklee Students Campaign To Land Professors Gig At Obama’s Inauguration

United States
Boston, MA, November 24, 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 in January.

To support the performance application filed with the Armed Services Inaugural Committee, students uploaded a YouTube 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: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuHNwV5fDp4

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 Obama used to win the election. This week the students began email, social networking, public relations, phone, and word-of-mouth efforts to draw attention to the video.

Donna McElroy, voice professor, has taught at Berklee 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 The Tonight Show and the Grammy Awards.

Jetro da Silva, born in Rio de Janeiro, 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 George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, B. B. King, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Bonnie Raitt, and Luther Vandross, and is currently the touring keyboardist in Whitney Houston’s band.

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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