Philip Bailey knew he wanted to be a musician as soon as he laid his hands on his first instruments: a drum he adapted from a trash can and a saxophone he assembled from a curtain rod and a clothing pin.
"If only you could have heard the sweet sounds that were coming from that makeshift horn," Bailey, the lead singer for the multi-Grammy-winning funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, told a crowd of more than 800 graduates at Berklee College of Music's commencement ceremony yesterday. "Once I heard the music calling me, I knew there could be no turning back."
For their contributions to American and international culture, Bailey, the group's founder, Maurice White, and British songwriter and guitarist Steve Winwood were awarded honorary doctorates in music by Berklee's president, Roger H. Brown.
Student speaker Carlos Delgado-Imbert, a music business and piano dual-major, expressed optimism about the changing landscape of an industry that many of them were about to enter.
"Today's world is going paperless, fuel-efficient, fat-free, and low sodium," Delgado-Imbert said at the event held at Boston University's Agganis Arena. "However, the world will never go music-less, music-efficient, music-free, or low-music, because with every day that goes by, music becomes more present in everyone's life."