The WesFest 4 benefit concert event was held on February 26, 2009, and raised over $20,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music. The headliner for the show was bassist The Allan Holdsworth/Allan Pasqua group, featuring Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman. Below you’ll find details about the event, as they were published at the time of its promotion.
WESFEST 4 BENEFIT CONCERT RAISES $21,000
FOR WES WEHMILLER SCHOLARSHIP FUND
AT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
Annual event and related fundraising drive activities generate best result in history of effort to date
BOSTON (July 3, 2009) — WesFest 4, the fourth annual WesFest benefit concert, was held at The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on February 26, 2009. The concert’s highest-to-date attendance, along with new fundraising efforts such as online auctions and merchandise sales, resulted in a groundbreaking donation of $21,000 to the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music. The total amount raised by the WesFest concert series and related fundraising drives since its inception in 2006 has now exceeded $50,000.
In addition to concert ticket sales, private donations, international charity auction efforts (U.S, Belgium, Netherlands), and merchandise revenues, WesFest 4 was also officially supported by corporate sponsors Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Mike Lull Custom Basses, and D’Addario & Co. The monies and awareness raised by the WesFest concert series have established the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship as one of the most noted awards given by Berklee College Of Music.
The WesFest 4 concert was headlined by The Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua Group featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, a supergroup of four legends from the jazz/fusion music scene who not only performed at their typically world-class level, but also brought a healthy number of their own fans and supporters into the WesFest circle of awareness and generosity. As in every WesFest concert, the current year’s scholarship winner performed a set at the show, and 2008’s recipient Steffie Willis upheld the tradition by laying down a deep, reggae-influenced groove in a set with Danny Mo & The Exciters, a band led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris. Morris is instrumental in selecting the scholarship winner, and leads a separate annual concert event in Boston to further awareness of the scholarship among the Berklee student body.
“Wes Wehmiller once described a real bass player as someone who actually concentrates on foundation,” Morris recalled. “Wes further depicts that bassist as someone who concentrates on one note and has that one note mean everything. Performing live with Steffie at Wesfest 4 and looking out to the audience movin’ to the heavy pulse, I felt something warm and gratifying. That was Wes smiling and saying, ‘Yeah Steffie, that’s the way to play the bass!’”
Three other acts, all a part of Wes Wehmiller’s broad and diverse musical world, performed at WesFest 4: original WesFest headliner guitarist/virtuoso Mike Keneally in his Keneally-Minnemann-Beller powertrio; L.A. singer/songwriter Tamara Silvera, whose new CD Departures features Wehmiller’s last known full-album recorded work; and The WesFest All-Stars, a collection of Wehmiller’s friends and musical compatriots, featuring performances by Ali Handal, Kira Small, Mother Eff, and Wes’ original rock band I, Claudius (whose CD Bleed: The Wes Demos contains reworked demo tracks with Wehmiller’s original bass parts, and contributed to the overall merchandising effort).
“We’re extremely grateful for the contribution of so many individuals involved in the show, as well their efforts to spread the news on the internet and make the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship known world-wide,” says WesFest 4 Producer Stacey Ferguson. “The fact that the WesFest fundraising drive continues to raise more money every year – even in these tough economic times – speaks volumes about how the amazing energy and depth of Wes’ life continues to touch people, and inspires them to carry it on.”
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 concert DVD’s, as well as the I, Claudius CD Bleed: The Wes Demos, 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. Pictures of WesFest 4 are available by visiting the site’s front page, clicking “WesFest” and then clicking “Gallery.”
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 email@example.com.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.
ORIGINAL PUBLICITY INFORMATION
A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship
at Berklee College Of Music
Featuring The Allan Holdsworth/Allan Pasqua Group featuring Jimmy Haslip and Chad Wackerman
Keneally – Minnemann – Beller
Danny Mo & The Exciters
* featuring 2008 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Winner Steffie Willis)
The WesFest All-Stars”
* featuring the music of Mother Eff, Kira Small, Ali Handal, and the return of I, Claudius
February 26, 2009
The Knitting Factory
7021 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
2008 Scholarship Announcement
Third recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee Announced
Welcome, Steffi Willis, 2008 recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship! Steffi will warm your heart with her spirit and her groove. They are interchangeable. Steffi 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 Steffi never lets you forget it. With her warm personality, glowing spirit, and rootsy feel on the bass, Steffi 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, Steffi 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. Steffi 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.
BERKLEE TODAY ARTICLE ANNOUNCING WESFEST 4
By Peter Gordon
Published: January 16, 2009
The Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua Group featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, a supergroup of four legends from the jazz/fusion music scene, will headline WesFest 4: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship for Berklee College of Music at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on February 26, 2009.
WesFest 4 is cosponsored by Mike Lull Custom Basses and D’Addario & Co. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. at the Knitting Factory, 7021 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. Advance tickets are available through February 23 for $30 a pair or $20 per ticket ($30 per ticket at the door). Ticket orders and donations will be accepted via check or credit card.
“We’re so grateful to Jimmy Haslip for helping to bring this incredible group of musicians into the WesFest concert series,” said Peter Gordon, director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles. “Though we’ve grown and exceeded our goals every year so far, this has exponential potential for the WesFest community.”
The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971–2005), a Berklee graduate (’92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in 2005. Established by his family and friends, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed 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 has raised more than $32,000 for the fund to date and this fourth annual concert is the centerpiece of an annual fundraising drive for the scholarship fund.
WesFest 4’s headliner, the Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua Group featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, features four virtuoso musicians and artists in their own right, joining forces for a set of high-powered jazz/fusion. With the trailblazing, iconoclastic Holdsworth on guitar, the jazz/pop crossover threat Pasqua on keys, the Latin-influenced jazz/fusion stalwart (and Yellowjackets cofounder) Haslip on bass, and unpredictably creative Frank Zappa vet Wackerman on drums, it’s an embarrassment of musical riches that can’t adequately be described in a paragraph.
“All of the musicians involved in this show are leading by example in making a difference for the musicians of tomorrow,” said WesFest 4 producer Stacey Ferguson. “And they’re all fantastic players. It’s going to be an amazing night!”
The event will feature four additional acts: the power trio of Keneally-Minnemann-Beller (featuring material from each of the band’s renowned members, guitarist/composer Mike Keneally, bassist and founding WesFest producer Bryan Beller, and drummer Marco Minnemann); Los Angeles singer/songwriter Tamara Silvera; the WesFest All-Stars (featuring the music of Mother Eff, FlynnFernquistKonnerth, soul/r&b artist Kira Small, singer/songwriter Ali Handal, and the return of Wes’s original rock band, I, Claudius); and Danny Mo and the Exciters, featuring Wehmiller’s Berklee bass professor and close friend Danny Morris, as well as 2008 Wehmiller scholarship award winner, Steffie Willis, performing with a band of all-Berklee graduates.
From 1997 through 2001, Wehmiller toured worldwide with the multi-platinum pop band Duran Duran, and appeared on many TV shows with them as well, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, VH-1’s Storytellers, and Hard Rock Live. He performed with Missing Persons and several other L.A.-based bands, and his work appears on numerous recordings produced in the L.A. area and in Vancouver. He gained endorsement deals with SWR bass amplification systems and La Bella Strings.
For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller and the WesFest concert series, as well as new details about WesFest 4 as they become available, visit the official Tribute to Wes Wehmiller website at weswehmiller.net. For questions about tickets or donating to the fundraising drive, contact Peter Gordon at 818 380-3041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Gordon is director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles.