Boston, MA (January 16, 2004)–Rock music icon and former Berklee professor Al Kooper has been central to so many prime rock moments across the past four decades–from Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird. Now Kooper has another party in the works–his own 60th birthday celebration. Kooper will mark the occasion with a benefit concert with his band, the Funky Faculty (all Berklee faculty members), to be held on Saturday, January 31, 2004. Dr. Al and the Funky Faculty, along with some special guests, will hit the stage at 8 p.m. in the Berklee Performance Center. Proceeds from the event are designated for Al Kooper’s “It Can Happen” Scholarship Fund for Berklee students with disabilities, and for Perkins School for the Blind.
The concert, featuring guest pianist Tony DeBlois and a few other surprise guests, will be recorded and videotaped, with plans for a DVD available for onsite release. DeBlois, who graduated magna cum laude from Berklee in 1996, is blind, autistic, and a musical savant, and was the subject of a 1997 TV movie, Journey of the Heart. The Funky Faculty includes Berklee faculty members Bob Doezema, Daryl Lowery, Jeff Stout, Tom Stein, and Larry Finn. Kooper was on Berklee’s Music Production and Engineering faculty from 1997 to 2000. In 2001, he received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the college.
“What better way to celebrate one’s ascent in life,” said Kooper, “than to jam with friends for the benefit of those not as fortunate as ourselves? In 1998, I started a scholarship fund for students with disabilities who wished to attend Berklee. In 2001, I permanently lost 2/3 of my sight and had an unrelated brain tumor removed. I am adjusted to my sight loss and totally recovered from my surgery, and I feel it was a message to me from on high to keep assisting those with talent and physical disabilities. Perkins School for the Blind helps 40,000 people in New England and around the globe lead independent lives in the face of physical obstacles. If we can lend a hand to help Perkins and Berklee continue to make a difference in the lives of so many people, we should take every opportunity to do so. I wish to thank Lee Berk, Rob Rose, and Berklee for all their assistance in making this concert happen, and for assisting me in starting my scholarship fund.”
Tickets are available at the BPC box office (in person only) for $15, $25, and $35, with special Golden Circle seats at $75. (Student discount tickets are available, two per student with a valid ID, at $10 off each ticket price.) Tickets are also available from TicketMaster, 617-931-2000, or www.ticketmaster.com.
Berklee College of Music