Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Tag: festivals (Page 1 of 5)


Samantha Schultz Trio at Close Encounters Helsinki-St. Petersburg

“Hei” from the winter wonderland of Helsinki, Finland! I’m here with three Berklee students who are making the most of their experience as part of the Close Encounters Festival this week. The Samantha Schultz Trio, led by Samantha Schultz (vocals, guitar) with Alexander Toth (bass) and Charles “Trey” Macias (hand percussion) represent Canada and the US for this week-long event promoting international musical exchange. They are joined by bands from our Berklee International Network partner schools the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory (who are hosting and producing the event), Helsinki Metropolia University, and France’s Music Academy International, along with student bands from the Helsinki Conservatory, Sibelius Academy, and the Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg.

Monday night was the trio’s first gig, during which they performed a five-song set of Samantha’s originals to an enthusiastic audience of over 100 people at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory’s Arabia Hall. Here they are performing “On the Sidelines”:

Up next for our Berklee crew? A gig tonight at the Caisa cultural center (where the program also includes fellow Berklee student and Pop & Jazz alum Anni Mattila), and then we head to St. Petersburg tomorrow for a gig at the JFC jazz club. More to come! In the meantime, you can check out additional footage of the Samantha Schultz Trio and the rest of the artists at the Close Encounters Youtube page.

The snare drum rolls in Clarksdale for the summer scholarship applicants

From left: Kyleen Thomas and Paula Thompson, Delta Blues Museum Arts & Education Program students.

I can’t imagine what the two young women have been thinking since their scholarship auditions at the Delta Blues Museum on Thursday.  Jacquline Gooch and Paula Thompson, students from the Delta Blues Museum’s Arts & Education Program, were both outstanding.  Gooch, 19, accompanied herself on a guitar with a sliver of worn wood below the sound hole that looked like a scar.  I imagined the hours she’s played her instrument, writing her own songs and learning others.  Thompson, 15, stood with the microphone in hand and sang for a small audience of family and museum staffers.  Kyleen Thomas, 12, another museum student, played bass while instructor Daddy Rich played guitar for Thompson.  Rich, museum gift shop manager Chris Coleman, Berklee professor Lenny Stallworth and I judged the two singers and multi instrumentalists.  It’s hard to choose one of them when there are two talented and deserving hopefuls.

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Nadia Washington Quartet at the Next Generation Festival

Berklee Assistant Vice President for Public Information, Rob Hayes, writes from the Next Generation Festival in Monterey, CA, where the Nadia Washington Quartet will perform this weekend. For more information, check out the official press release on

Each spring, the Monterey Jazz Festival produces a three-day wonderland for high school jazz musicians – the Next Generation Festival.  Competitions for spots in the Monterey Jazz Festival in the fall, Berklee auditions for the full-tuition Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, and performances and clinics by major figures make this one of the best places to be if you are in love with your instrument.

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Preparing for the Berklee Jazz Festival

Last week I dropped in on Marty Walsh and the Berklee City Music Rock ensemble preparing for their debut performance at Berklee’s annual High School Jazz Festival. They were energized and ready to rock… I have the ring in my ears to prove it 🙂

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My ears are still recovering…

Back from SXSW in Austin, where Berklee hosted three (!!) events this year. While I’m 90% recovered, my hearing may take longer to come back… I saw 40 bands in 4 days! including twelve alumni and student bands that played at Berklee’s parties, and two more – Pink Nasty and Royal Forest – who were among the dozens of alumni bands performing at shows and parties around austin last week.

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