Gordon Hamersley and Kurt Cerulli Honored by Community Music Center

October 31, 2014
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On a brisk fall afternoon, supporters of Community Music Center of Boston were gathered outside the celebrated Hamersley’s Bistro, awaiting one last savory meal from esteemed Boston Chef, Gordon Hamersley.

Sunday, Oct. 19, marked the 8th Annual John Kleshinski Luncheon, an event celebrating the Music Center’s late Board President and supporting the faculty and guest artist concert series named in his honor. Back Bay resident Kurt Cerulli was the recipient of the 2014 John Kleshinski Prize, exemplifying the values and spirit that John brought to the Music Center. The afternoon also paid tribute to the South End’s treasured Chef who continually and graciously supports music education for all in the Boston community.

While imaginative and fresh plates of late harvest vegetable salad arrived at tables, anecdotes were shared by Community Music Center of Boston’s Executive Director David Lapin, noting the gracious and humble support Gordon has given the Music Center over the past quarter century. Lapin recited a rendition of Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” entitled “Gordon at the Grill,” gaining roars of laughter for the innovative word choices chosen for the baseball fan.

Ten-thousand eyes were on him as he turned the heat up high

Five-thousand tongues applauded when the chicken they did spy.

Then while the hungry diners their cocktails most did sip

Confidence flashed in Gordon’s yes, a smile curled Gordon’s lip. The afternoon continued by honoring former Music Center Board President, Kurt Cerulli.  Lapin compared Cerulli’s value to the Music Center as that of Kleshinski’s. “Kurt, like John, is a terrific guy. As the late Wagnerian soprano Birgit Nilsson once said about her voice: ‘If you hadn’t heard it, well, you really missed something.’ As I’ve said before on these occasions, if you didn’t know John, you really missed something. And the same is just as true for this afternoon’s honoree.”

Cerulli became board president in 2010, previously the Music Center’s treasurer, successfully maintaining the financial state of the organization through the economic crisis.  During Cerulli’s tenure, he guided the organization through their strategic planning and capital campaign and oversaw the planning and implementation of satellite locations throughout the city.   Lapin noted his quiet and humble leadership.

“There’s a lesson to be learned by all of us from his model, that people give back to the community not because it reflects well and publicly on them, but because it’s what great people do. They offer up their talents and treasure to causes like arts education for all—a good in itself—but also because in doing so, they lead all of us into a richer and more worthy field of play,” Cerulli said.

Whimsical stories continued to be shared between Cerulli and Hamersley, both avid baseball fans who fully admitted to the odd quirks and superstitions baseball fanatics embrace.   After the plates from the infamous roast chicken with garlic, lemon and parsley were cleared from the table, Hamersley presented Cerulli with the 2014 John Kleshinski Award which was proceeded by a student string trio playing “Sweet Caroline.”

A beautiful finale of souffléed lemon custard with cranberry coulis was savored while Cerulli gave a heart-felt speech recalling memories of the late board president.

“John did great things for the Music Center and for Boston.  I am flattered by this award, but it was an honor to have worked with him,” Cerulli said. Center and for Boston.  I am flattered by this award, but it was an honor to have worked with him,” Cerulli said.

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