Hello, I’m writing in preparation for a great musical road trip tomorrow, where I’ll be taking La Timbística, a fantastic Latin jazz group comprised of some of the most talented Berklee students. The group is led by a great young percussionist, Paulo Stagnaro, who I happened to work with before in the recording of the Panama Suite, a big band composition I produced while studying at Berklee (who then released it through Artistshare.com in 2007).

Also part of the group are Alex Brown (a student of New England Conservatory) on piano, Godwin Louis on saxophone, Nick Noonan on trombone, Marcos Lopez on timbales and Juan Maldonado on electric bass.

Oh yes, forgot, who am I? My name is Billy Herron. I came to Berklee from Panama in May 2004 looking for a formal education in music in the best institution possible, 4 years after earning a marketing degree from Villanova University ’00, working as a Marketing Executive for a local TV station (TVN Canal 2) and performing Rock and Roll in a well known Panamanian rock group, Los 33. After several hours invested in class rooms, practice rooms, rehearsals, gigs and recording studios, I graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Music Production and Engineering degree and many (documented and undocumented) experiences in May 2007. However, I liked Berklee so much that I decided to stay, and I applied for a job and ended up working as Marketing Manager for Off-Campus Projects.

Enough of me. In this occasion I’ll be serving as driver, road manager and blogger (not while driving) all the way from Boston to Saratoga Springs, NY (at 5am need to go get the van 6am we are out of here) for load in at 10am at the exciting 32nd Freihofers Jazz Festival, an annual event featuring 20 hours of live jazz on two stages over two days in Saratoga Springs, New York. The festival takes place at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This is the first time that student performers are invited in representation of Berklee, so honestly I can’t wait for this exciting experience. I still need to discuss with the guys our return time, as I want to check out some of the amazing acts—Gary Burton Quartet, Jimmy Cobb, Kind of Blue 50 years tribute ensemble and also younger players such as saxophonist John Ellis, who will perform right after La Timbística on the Gazebo stage.

Another cool thing happening is that besides the six members of La Timbistica, we have Music Technology student Chris Wainwright joining us, who will be recording the performance. As you may already noticed I will need to get some early sleep tonight so I can wake up at 4:15am to go get that van, and also still need to do some preparation for the trip, so this is it for now.

Stay tuned as I’ll do my best to post pictures and comments, and perhaps get some of the student musicians to blog from a cell phone (if they are not sleeping on the way there).

More soon…