This blog post was authored by Alexander Polk, Interim Business Systems Coordinator, City Music, in the President’s Office of Education Outreach


The Tenth Annual Berklee City Music Unsung Heroes Breakfast can be summarized in just one word: success! From the awe-inspiring keynote speaker Will Power to the heartfelt send-off words for our beloved colleague Gerline Maldonado—staff, performers, and audience members were well engaged and filled with positive energy.

Bobby Wesley Trio cordially opened our event with several original numbers as well as a mellow Hendrix tune, “Angel.” Guests enjoyed a hot breakfast and caught up with other parents, students, and teachers over coffee. After breakfast, Berklee staff member Abria Smith shared several pieces of original poetry in both traditional and rap form. Other remarkable performances throughout the event included Josue Raymond’s Ensemble, Erica Thomas’s Ensemble from our Mentoring Program, and Chris Rivelli and Marian Wilson’s Ensemble from our Preparatory Academy. The latter performances were especially welcomed as they gave the uncommon opportunity for our younger students to play alongside our college scholars. The energy and liveliness (as well as creativity!) from their music displayed a high-level of talent and professionalism—complimenting our more experienced scholars superbly!

The highlight of the breakfast came through our speaker, Will Power. Will, an award-winning playwright and performer from the San Francisco Bay area, delighted the audience with his artistic enthusiasm. Spectators loved his animated movements, his engaging raps, his hilarious stories…but all were more impressed with his greater message: the honoring of “unsung heroes.”

Will discussed his experiences growing up in difficult neighborhoods throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, and how the arts were a medium of both expression and empowerment for him. Will noted the proximity to our national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps one of the most well known (“sung”) heroes in history. Mentions of Dr. King led perfectly to Will’s key point: although Dr. King left a remarkable legacy, he was not a perfect man; thus, we must not use our imperfections as justification for not making a difference in the world. Flawed or not, we all have the capacity to leave a legacy like Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and other “sung” yet imperfect heroes did.

Logistically and sentimentally, this event was, again, a great success! We look forward to hearing from another Unsung Hero next year!  Click here for more photos from the event.