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TransAtlantic Seaway in Glasgow: Day 5

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.

TransAtlantic Seaway

DAY 5—SAT 29 JAN “Standing room only”

Hamish N.:

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’.

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TransAtlantic Seaway in Glasgow: Day 2

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.

TransAtlantic Seaway

DAY 2—WED 26 JAN “We had planned a summit but only had time to grab an ale”

Larry B.:

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.

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TransAtlantic Seaway in Glasgow: Before the Trip

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.

TransAtlantic Seaway

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.

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A Scottish trumpeter

In the midst of the Transatlantic Seaway Music Collaborative’s slam-dunk trip to the New Hampshire Highland Games, John Wallace, principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graciously answered a few questions about his own career.

(He left out the part about performing at Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding.)

Scottish culture on the skids

Before I share more music (see video!), I thought you should know something about the context of the Transatlantic Seaway Music Collaboration’s smashing debut: the New Hampshire Highland Games.

big blue guy

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