More than 850 graduates from 54 different countries received degrees at Berklee College of Music's 2010 Commencement, held at the Agganis Arena at Boston University, May 8, 2010. Berklee President Roger H. Brown presented honorary doctor of music degrees to legendary songwriting team and Sound of Philadelphia architects Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff; Spain's most influential flamenco artist and one of the world's most revered guitarists Paco de Lucia; African-born singer/songwriter and humanitarian Angelique Kidjo; and jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader Kenny Barron. Gamble delivered the commencement address to the graduating class and more than 4,000 guests.
The annual Commencement Concert took place on graduation eve, May 7, also at Agganis Arena. Some of the college's most accomplished students presented a tribute to the honorees with performances of music associated with their careers. Kidjo performed her song Afrika alongside the student group Women of the World. Earlier in the set, Barron took the stage to perform his composition Phantoms, joined by his granddaughter and graduating class member Nikara Warren on vibes. Other concert highlights included a medley of O'Jays songs, including the Gamble & Huff classics Backstabbers and For the Love of Money, and de Lucia's Zyrab and Solo Quiero Caminar, performed by a 12-piece band with students from Spain, Israel and Brazil.
In his commencement address, Gamble encouraged the class to be more than songwriters, guitar players, or business people, but also ambassadors of love through their music. He quoted Love Train, a number one hit that he and Huff wrote for the O'Jays: People All over the world/join hands/start a love train/don't miss it/'cause if you miss it/I'll feel sorry for you, and led a brief sing along of the universally familiar chorus.
"It's wonderful to be young and gifted," he said. "The future is like a piece of clay. You have the ability to mold it and shape it any way you want. It's right in the palm of your hands. But you have to be committed, you have to be persistent and you have to persevere through all of the setbacks to make your dreams come true. Learn from yesterday, live today at it's maximum, and do great planning for tomorrow."
When Leon Huff accepted his honorary doctorate alongside Gamble later in the ceremony, he thanked God for meeting his songwriting partner, and told the audience how much he has enjoyed their...