Berklee bass professor Danny Morris welcomes 2008 Scholarship winner, Steffie Willis
Welcome, Steffie Willis, 2008 recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship! Steffie will warm your heart with her spirit and her groove. They are interchangeable. Steffie is one of the most in demand bassists around the Berklee community for good reason: She plays the bass with a conviction to the song, to the groove. You can shut your eyes and feel that commitment, that strong pocket linking the rhythm to the harmony. If you open your eyes, you’ll witness someone doing what they love.
She plays the 5-string bass with a penchant for the low register. After all, the bass is the lowest voice and Steffie never lets you forget it. With her warm personality, glowing spirit, and rootsy feel on the bass, Steffie was the perfect choice for this scholarship in Wes’ honor. She now joins fellow scholarship recipients Will Snyder (2006), and Claire Finley (2007) in this pantheon of deserving students from Berklee’s Bass Department.
On March 12th, 2008, Steffie joined me for a performance at Berklee’s David Friend Recital Hall. She brought with her a 15-piece choir for which she arranged the music. It was Sunday morning [BB’s note – I’m guessing that’s the intended meaning here?] on a Wednesday night at Berklee. The rear doors had to be opened to allow for the over-capacity crowd. Steffie joined my group for a few tunes, and together with a great audience we raised the roof. I want to thank all the musicians who performed, Paula and John Wehmiller, my wife Jacqui and son Charles, Bass Department Chairman Rich Appleman, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, and everyone in the house that evening. We tore down yet another Danny Mo’s Jam for the record books.
We’ll be in L.A. next winter for Wesfest 4, and hope to see you again next March for the Danny Mo’s Jam 2009 in Boston. You’re all on the guest list.