Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory receive Honorary Doctor of Music Degrees
Page is Commencement Speaker at Berklee
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
~ Berklee Student Speaker, Drew Krasner, quoting Howard Thurman on Commencement Day, 2014.
May 10, 2014 was a Celebration Day for the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jimmy Page, Geri Allen, Valerie Simpson, and Thara Memory received Honorary Doctor of Music degrees as presented by Roger H. Brown, Berklee President.
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, now Dr.James Patrick Page, was the key note speaker to graduates at the Agganis Arena. The private Baccalaureate ceremony, open to only graduates and their families. was held to bestow degrees such as professional music, music business management and performance.
In Berklee Tradition
On commencement eve, it is the Berklee tradition for the students to pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with their careers at the Agganis. This concert was also closed to the public.
Jackie Beard, Professor of Woodwinds, marshaled. The procession of the commencement ceremony on Saturday morning brought a hush of reverence, followed by applause and excitement, as the students came into the arena, and the honorees were marshaled to the stage. There was full participation and response, from the students, families and honorees alike, in raising the inspiration for music to its highest levels.
The event was called to order by Provost, Lawrence J. Simpson, with commencement greetings by Board of Trustees, Jeff Shames. Jackie Beard sent greetings from the faculty.
Drew Krasner, Student Speaker, Offers Poetic, Inspirational Send Off to Berklee Colleagues
Tenor saxophonist, Drew Krasner, from Harrisburg, PA gave a powerful speech to the Berklee community. Encompassing the inspiration of music, he empowered Berklee graduates with the social responsibility to be teachers and advocates of the arts. Krasner blended the ethereal impact of music with the reality of its financial returns, and encouraged his peers to help others "find their own 'music, whatever that may be." Here are some excerpts from his speech:
It is what I call euphoric release. The birds chirp louder on the first warm day of spring after a hard winter. The mother feels this when she first holds her newborn child. Travelers feel this when they step foot in a land they have only experienced in their dreams, and it is what we all share as our driving force within the medium of music. This unique ability we possess both to have and transfer deep emotion is something we cannot take for granted.
As the world's facilitators of music, in one capacity or another, you are a teacher and an advocate for the arts. Carry yourself in a manner that respects this notion, because in many places worldwide, the arts are being considered an afterthought. It is the small things that we do as individuals that will help turn this trend, and it requires every one of us to be in tune with this goal.
(Drew Krasner, Berklee, May 10, 2014).
At the end of the day, we always come back to that feeling—the feeling at the peak of musical ecstasy when we are so enveloped in bliss that we lose our sense of self. We all know this moment intimately, yet its multitude of forms makes it elusive and unique; still, it keeps us coming back for more and more. Our music and our lives are one interconnected experience. If we are happy, our music is happy; if we are confused, our music is confused. This is a special human and spiritual relationship, which empowers musicians and non musicians alike to live rich and connected lives.