WesFest provides the opportunity to share Wes' musical life with others to raise money for a deserving student to someday attend Berklee, and have the same opportunities Wes and his friends had to express their musicality to their fullest potential.
The four-hour inaugural concert featured seven acts – Dan Rockett, Ali Handal, SMUG, Kira Small, Touched, Bryan Beller, and The Mike Keneally Band - all of whom were touched by Wes' music (he played with just about everyone on the bill), photography (his pictures were used in the album artwork of many of the acts), and spirit.
The event was a great success, raising over $12,000. for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Memorial Scholarship fund, and living up to his family’s exhortation to Wes' friends to "carry it on," so that Wes' memory would live on for those who knew him, and even for those who didn't.
Then, one month later, the scholarship was put into action for the first time. The presentation of the inaugural Wes Wehmiller Scholarship Award was made to continuing Berklee student bassist Will Snyder on March 15th, 2006, at an event entitled the Danny Mo Jam 2006. The event was produced by Wes's former bass instructor, Danny “Danny Mo” Morris.
When asked about the choice of Will Snyder as the recipient, Danny said: “Rich Appleman (Bass Department Chair) and I were looking for a student who most exemplified Wes Wehmiller's spirit and musicianship. Will plays music with a love and concern for every bass note he puts out of his instrument. His command of harmony is profoundly displayed in the brevity of his note choices. Wes had this same beautiful quality of 'less is more' that is thankfully preserved on the numerous sessions he recorded while out in LA. Will and I had the honor and pleasure of performing together in Boston on March 15th at Berklee's David Friend Recital Hall. The concert reminded us of what Wes Wehmiller was all about: good vibes, family, and some gospel-tinged R&B that shook the rafters.”
"This scholarship will be a permanent reminder of his musical spirit," Berklee College Of Music President Roger Brown said when first announcing the establishment of the scholarship. "Wes fits into what Ron Carter said: 'Nobody notices the bass player until they stop playing' - well, we're sure noticing Wes now!"
Plans are already underway for WesFest II, and to make WesFest an annual event.
For more information, 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.
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