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First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

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american roots music program

TransAtlantic Seaway in Glasgow: Day 1

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.

TransAtlantic Seaway

DAY 1—TUE 25 JAN “I’m expecting that our concert on Saturday will blow people’s socks off”

Larry Bethune:

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.

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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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Berklee kicked butt at the Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contests

John Mailander and Kyle Tuttle play for gold at the 2010 Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contests

John Mailander and Kyle Tuttle play for gold at the 2010 Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contests. All photos by Sam Stambler.

Think music-college students can’t play bluegrass? The Berklee crew seriously showed off its chops at the 31st annual Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contests on Sept. 11 at the Lowell National Historic Park. Students took first place in six of the eight categories. Said top alt-styles fiddler Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, “It was a pretty good day!”

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