BeanTown Jazz helps Berklee’s scholarship
Everybody loves Joyce.
This was the refrain last Friday night at Symphony Hall when some of jazz’s leading stars performed at a concert to establish the Joyce Alexander Wein Scholarship Fund.
Branford Marsalis, Roy Haynes, Regina Carter, Claudia Acuña, Michel Camilo and many more entertained the crowd with selections that most had introduced as Joyce’s favorite. The concert was part of the seventh annual BeanTown Jazz Festival that attracted more than 70,000 during its three-day run.
But who was Joyce? A Roxbury native, Joyce Wein graduated from Girls Latin and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Simmons College. She and George Wein, the man who started the Newport Jazz Festival, married in 1959. At the time, she was a biochemist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Columbia Medical School in New York City, but she gave those jobs up to work with her husband in the music business. She died in 2005.
“She was my heart,” said the 84 year-old George Wein in an interview with the Bay State Banner. “I loved her very much and I miss her.”
Wein said he approached Berklee College of Music about setting up a scholarship fund in Joyce’s name, and the college quickly agreed. “I was able to raise $100,000,” Wein stressed.
The Joyce Wein Scholarship will be offered to students of color entering Berklee College of Music. “I think that if Joyce was here today, she would have been trying to do something similar,” said Wein.