It’s now a month since WesFest 7, and we wanted to write you to let you know of the results of the fundraising effort and the concert.
It’s all great news: We raised over $25,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Fund at Berklee College Of Music. Not only did we achieve the $20,000 goal, we blew it away and broke the record for fundraising in a single year. This is all thanks to you, and to everyone who contributed in one way or another to making WesFest 7 such a success.
It’s humbling and gratifying for all of us on the team to know that the WesFest community is still growing and thriving, seven years and counting. These continuing successes ensure that future deserving bass students will not only receive support in their educational journey, but also that they and their family and friends will join the growing WesFest community as well. In this way, Wes’ spirit lives on for all of us.
We’ve included the official WesFest 7 press release below, so you can see what we’re sending out to the world at large. Once again, thank you SO much for being on this list, and for all you do to help make this event and effort a success.
Best wishes to all,
The WesFest Team:
Bryan Beller, Stacey Ferguson, Peter Gordon,
John and Paula Wehmiller
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Peter Gordon
WESFEST 7 BENEFIT CONCERT RAISES $25,000
FOR WES WEHMILLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
AT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
7th annual event breaks all previous years’ fundraising results
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 5, 2012) – WesFest 7, the seventh annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at The Roxy in Los Angeles on March 4, 2012. The results were unprecedented in the event’s history, as the concert and related fundraising drive raised more than $25,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music. The total amount generated by the WesFest initiative since its inception in 2006 has now well exceeded $100,000.
Officially supported this year by corporate sponsors Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Guitars, D’Addario Strings, Eminence Speaker, and DW Drums, the WesFest concert series has made the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship one of the leading awards for performance majors at Berklee College Of Music. Established by Wes’ family and friends in 2005, the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series serves as the centerpiece for a continuing fundraising drive for the scholarship fund, which honors the legacy of Wehmiller, a Berklee graduate (‘92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January, 2005.
The WesFest 7 concert was headlined by rock/fusion supergroup The Aristocrats, comprised of guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Dizzee Rascal), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok, Mike Keneally), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, UKZ, Adrian Belew). The Aristocrats’ set also featured special guest guitarist/keyboardist Mike Keneally, the headliner from the very first WesFest concert (and participant in nearly every show) on three roof-raising tunes. “It’s extremely gratifying to see how WesFest has not only continued but flourished, both as a support system for new musicians on the scene and as a way to keep Wes Wehmiller’s name and presence alive,” says Keneally. “I’m forever grateful to the Fest for the way it spurs those of us who loved Wes to refocus our remembrance and appreciation of him, year after year. Long live Wes – and long live WesFest!”
In a long-standing WesFest concert tradition, the 2011 Wehmiller Scholarship winner performed at WesFest 7. London-born bassist Hayley Jane Batt – one of the many international students at Berklee – wowed the crowd with not just her superior bass chops, but with her lead vocal prowess as well. She anchored Danny Mo & The Exciters, a band of mostly Berklee graduates featuring legendary drummer John “JR” Robinson (Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Madonna, Eric Clapton), as well as singer/songwriter Kira Small (Peter Frampton, Martina McBride) on lead vocals. The band was led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris. Danny plays a key role in selecting the scholarship winner, and is central to the WesFest community both in Boston and Los Angeles.
“Seeing the look on John Robinson’s face summed it up,” says Morris. “We had just finished plowing through the set at rehearsal, and JR said to Hayley, ‘You can play, you can write, and you look great!’ At the Roxy, Hayley and the Exciters threw down a nasty set that lit up the packed house. After the set we were all spent, and that’s how I knew that Hayley Jane Batt rocked the house. Wes was smiling bright – he told me so!”
Other performers at WesFest 7 included many musicians who knew and worked with Wes during his twelve years in Los Angeles, such as Jackie Daum, Joe Brooks, Colin Keenan, Joe Travers, Pete Griffin, Griff Peters, Mike Olekshy, Ali Handal, and The Casualties Of Jazz (featuring Matt Rohde, Chris Golden, and Jimmy Paxson).
Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center In Los Angeles, offered this about WesFest 7: “It’s a real statement that for seven years now, regardless of circumstance, WesFest has continued to grow, as does its impact both in the Los Angeles community and on the Berklee campus in Boston. This annual event, and the energy surrounding it, is making a real difference.”
All WesFest related merchandise – which includes two concert DVDs, the I, Claudius CD Bleed: The Wes Demos, and Wicked: Music From The WesFest Community – are available for purchase at http://weswehmiller.net/wesfest, with net proceeds also going to benefit the fund. For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, WesFest, and all related merchandise, please visit the official Tribute To Wes Wehmiller Website at www.weswehmiller.net. For more information on the scholarship, or to find out how to contribute to the fund, please contact Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles, at (818) 380-3041, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.