Berklee VP for student affairs/Scotland fan Larry Bethune covers the TransAtlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s first trip to Glasgow, with help from musician Hamish Napier.
DAY 5—SAT 29 JAN “Standing room only”
The BIG DAY has come, and Larry has everyone assembled in the Green Room for 11am for one final run-through of the show. Sound checks and lighting are all OK and there’s a little nervous tingle going around. 12:45 comes and the audience flocks in. We hadn’t really known what to expect as Celtic Connections is a very large festival with about 12 different locations. Besides it’s Saturday afternoon in a city that is ‘Football Daft’. Continue reading
Berklee VP for student affairs/Scotland fan Larry Bethune covers the TransAtlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s first trip to Glasgow, with help from Scottish culture promoter David Christie… and actually for this spell Larry delegates his blogging responsibilities to musician Hamish Napier.
DAYS 3+4—THU 27–FRI 28 JAN “Jamming for their supper”
Following the Berklee guys’ rehearsals in the piping centre at the beginning of the week, they joined the Hamish Napier Quintet for rehearsals at the Glasgow Berkeley rehearsal studios (a coincidence with the name there, but the largest rehearsal studio complex in the UK nonetheless!). The band, featuring me on vocals and vintage Wurlitzer piano, and a mean rhythm section of bass, guitar and drums, would also include fiddle, concertina and sax for their imminent performance at Glasgow City Hall’s for their Celtic Connections debut. The Berklee gang added oodles of awesome string madness to the already giant sound of the group, with banjo, mandolin, guitar and 3 fiddles. After only a very short while the guys had the tunes down and had already begun improvising! Continue reading
Berklee VP for student affairs/Scotland fan Larry Bethune covers the TransAtlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s first trip to Glasgow, with help from Scottish culture promoter David Christie.
DAY 2—WED 26 JAN “We had planned a summit but only had time to grab an ale”
The day starts off with another buffet breakfast at the hotel (how musicians love all-you-care-to-eat buffets). Back to the Piping Centre for more rehearsals. Maureen McMullan and I give interviews to be mixed into the footage of the BBC show we will tape tonight. The show will be aired throughout the UK; they are exploring a deal with PBS in America. Finlay MacDonald, head of piping at both the Piping Center and the RSAMD (he’s played for royalty and with P-Diddy) will also do an interview.
At 2:00 p.m. we start our sound check at the BBC rehearsal at the Glasgow Art Club. I think the crew is having a collective heart attack as I insist that we CAN get 17 musicians on a stage designed for 6… we do it all the time. And we succeed; the tight formation yields tight music. Continue reading
Berklee VP for student affairs/Scotland fan Larry Bethune covers the TransAtlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s first day back together, with help from Scottish culture promoter David Christie.
DAY 1—TUE 25 JAN “I’m expecting that our concert on Saturday will blow people’s socks off”
As we descend over the rolling foothills of the great Highlands of Scotland, many students are trying to get a good look out the windows of the lochs, bens, and braes of the Highlands. Glasgow is a gateway to the Highlands and a lively city that a few years ago was deemed the European City of Culture and recently chosen as a UNESCO City of Music by the United Nations. It is home to tremendous Scottish Traditional music and, of course, haggis (Google that!). We are so happy to have left the minus-six-degrees of Boston for the balmy 46 degrees of Glasgow. Continue reading
Larry Bethune spends his days as Berklee’s vice president for student affairs—but under that business suit beats a heart of plaid. This school year, he’s combined his interests to promote both students and Scottish music with a new project: the TransAtlantic Seaway Music Collaboration. After a ragingly successful trip to New Hampshire, the band—featuring musicians from Berklee and two Scottish universities—made its way to Glasgow. This is their story.
Last October, seven Berklee students and eleven students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) and the University of Strathclyde were asked to perform at the 2011 Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland.
Mark Sheridan (then Head of Music at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow) and I had been talking for a few years about putting together a band of Scottish Traditional and Bluegrass student musicians. Mark is a friend of mine and later became my music supervisor when I was working on a doctorate in music research at Strathclyde. My project was tracking 18th century Scottish Highland tunes to Carolina in America and up to contemporary American popular music (bluegrass, old-time, folk, country, pop…). The idea started to gather some steam when, totally unconnected to Mark’s and my vision, John Wallace (Principal of the RSAMD) and David Christie (expatriate Scot living in New Hampshire and marketing expert) started talking about RSAMD and Berklee collaborating. Continue reading