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.