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WesFest 3 – 2008

The WesFest 3 benefit concert event was held on February 25, 2008, and raised over $10,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music. The headliner for the show was the legendary gospel/R&B bassist Andrew Gouche. Below you’ll find details about the event, as they were published at the time of its promotion.



WesFest 3, the third annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at Paladino’s in Los Angeles on February 25, 2008 and raised $10,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music for the third consecutive year. This brings the total amount raised by the WesFest concert series to over $30,000 since its inception in 2006.

In addition to concert proceeds and private donations, WesFest 3 was also officially supported by corporate sponsors Epifani Custom Sound, Mike Lull Custom Basses, D’addario & Co., and Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. The monies and awareness raised by the WesFest concert series have quickly made the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship one of the most noted awards given by Berklee College Of Music.

Headlining WesFest 3 was gospel/R&B bass legend Andrew Gouché, whose world-class jazz/fusion quintet left the audience of nearly 200 with jaws open and hearts filled from their combination of musical excellence and spiritual presence. A tradition also continued as 2007 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Award winner Claire Finley performed at WesFest 3 with Danny Mo & The Exciters, a band led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris, and featured Berklee alum and Zappa Plays Zappa drummer Joe Travers (’92). Finley, the second winner of the award, confidently took center stage and grooved mightily as The Exciters pounded out original and classic rock material.

Three other acts, all a part of Wes Wehmiller’s broad and diverse musical world, performed at WesFest 3: Nashville-based soul/R&B singer/songwriter (and Berklee alum) Kira Small (’93), newly-formed Los Angeles rockers Mother Eff, and perennial WesFest performer Mike Keneally, whose virtuosic band headlined the original event in 2005 and brings continuity to an ever-expanding community.

“The WesFest concert series really has come of age very quickly, and it’s still growing,” says WesFest 3 producer Bryan Beller. “And though we’re very grateful for its success, it’s not just about meeting fundraising goals. Every year we do this, we’re meeting and bringing new people – students, musicians, folks from all walks of life – into the community, and they get for themselves a huge awareness of Wes and why he’s so special to the people who knew him. Plus, everyone’s seeing with their own eyes the tremendous impact of their support. Seeing Claire Finley carry on the tradition is a reaffirmation of what the event really stands for, and then watching Claire watch Andrew Gouche while Wes’ family and friends look on…that’s when you start to get the bigger picture of why this works so well. We’re all connected, and you can’t help but get swept up in the positivity generated by the whole thing.”

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 Wes 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 first two WesFest concerts are available on DVD, with net proceeds also going to benefit the fund. For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, WesFest and the WesFest DVD’s, please visit the official Tribute To Wes Wehmiller Website at Pictures of WesFest 3 are available here.

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
WesFest 3



WesFest 3
A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship
at Berklee College Of Music

featuring Andrew Gouche

also performing:
The Mike Keneally Band
Kira Small
Mother Eff
Danny Mo & The Exciters
* featuring 2007 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Award Winner Claire Finley


February 25, 2008
6101 Reseda Blvd.
Tarzana, CA 91335
(818) 342-1563



Second recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee Announced

On March 14, 2007, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College of Music was awarded to Claire Finley, a rising seventh-semester bassist from Iowa. Claire, who is the second recipient of the scholarship, received her award from Bass Department Chairman, Rich Appleman, and Wes’ mentor, colleague and friend, Danny Morris, in a spirited afternoon luncheon ceremony. That evening Claire teamed up with Danny Mo and “Crew” in a wonderful musical event. Here is a message from Danny Mo describing the the evolving spirit of the east and west coast scholarship events:

A Shout Out from Danny Mo

The 2007 Wes Wehmiller scholarship was awarded to Berklee bass student Claire Finley. She performed at Danny Mo’s jam in Boston on the night of March 14. The previous week in LA, 2006-award recipient Will Snyder performed with me in Hollywood at an event called WesFest2. These recipients are chosen by Chairman of the bass department Rich Appleman and myself. The qualifications of the award recipient are summarized by their musicianship, spirit, visibility around campus as a performer, and their potential to carry on the tradition of my former student and colleague, Wes Wehmiller.

Wes possessed many special qualities as a musician. Most visible was the ability to light up a song thru his bass parts. I recently played a track from a Tom Langford cd with Wes on bass for my Survey of Bass Styles class. Upon the song’s conclusion, I asked the class to describe what they heard. John Wehmiller, Wes’ dad, in attendance at this class, commented after hearing the students speak that they all described Wes’ personality so clearly. This power of the medium, to be able to get a concise and clear picture of one’s being thru the bass part of a pop/ rock tune is profound. In fact, many aspects of this scholarship are so special. Not only is music being performed and shared by folks who knew and loved Wes, but also those who had never had an association prior to these events are experiencing his beauty.

The spirit in LA was powerful and joyous. Bryan Bellar commented to the crowd following a video presentation that there was no sadness in the house. I would say the mood was that of optimism and life with Wes serving as beacon. This beacon of light, hope and desire thru music is Wes’ spirit. Will Snyder and Claire Finley are honorable and scholarly students who can forward this mission of hope thru music. Reverend Paula Wehmiller, Wes’ mom said to my wife Jacqui during the show in Boston, “there’s humanity up on that stage tonight.” Lots can be brought into a statement like that. I was overjoyed with the sentiment. See you all next year at Wesfest3 in LA and/or at Danny Mo’s Jam in Boston. You are on the guest list already. As I said in the advertisement for the show, “your spirit will be moved by this event.”