And now … Hawaii

Berklee is a truly entrepreneurial place. A school that started in 1945, in Lawrence Berk’s teaching studio, with a big idea and a lot of heart, has somehow hung onto the notion that if you can extend yourself to bring music to the people, and do some good in the process, they will respond in kind.

Berklee Professor of Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) Stephen Webber began coming to Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, about six years ago. This began through a connection with one of his MP&E students who lived here, Will Lydgate, and his father Tony. Their Steelgrass Farm had been holding some very successful music seminars, alongside their bamboo, and chocolate (!) ecotourism activities.

They asked Stephen to build them a recording studio. He did, and it’s since been home to sessions by major musicians like Kathy Mattea, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and ukelele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, and quite a bit of voiceover work for Hollywood, including sessions with Ben Stiller, and Jack Black.

Hailey’s group has been invited to Hawaii to perform at the Kauai Red Clay Jazz Festival, to play some private events with people who have an interest in Berklee, meet potential students and their parents, and to record in the Steelgrass studio.

The band and I are staying in a big house on the farm. This is the view off the back porch. When you stand here in the early morning, you hear what sounds like hundreds of crowing roosters, supported on the bass end by deep frog calls. You’re in a forest. No camera can do this justice.

Our first day was scheduled as Island Time – a chance to acclimate and relax before the work began. We went way up the North Shore to the Blue Room, a cave made by an ancient lava tube, filled with iridescent blue spring water. It’s so deep that no one’s found the bottom. The place figures prominently in various films, including the latest Pirates of the Caribbean.

Then, a short walk to Ke’e Beach, a protected cove where we saw lots of fish, and the members of the newly formed Berklee Competitive Floating Team worked on their game.

On the way back to the house, and the supermarket, we stopped to see the Kailua River, and took this.

Next: Recording, radio interviews, performing.