Berklee presents five groups on the main stage at Copley Square during the Boston Book Festival, a free event open to the public with over 50 authors and presenters. Musical genres include bluegrass, folk, reggae, and blues.
Sierra Hull, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Articulate and engaging on-stage and off, Sierra Hull has already emerged as a leading light in a new generation of bluegrass musicians. Only seventeen years old as of this writing, Hull displays instrumental facility and musical maturity well beyond her age with Secrets, her national debut album. She began playing mandolin at age eight, and quickly became noted on the national festival scene for her fluid, inventive picking, winning several mandolin and guitar championships in the process. Hull has also developed into an exquisite vocalist, as amply demonstrated by the largely vocal-driven material that composes Secrets.
Hull has been exceptionally busy over the past few years, winning over a wide range of audiences via extensive festival appearances (including Merlefest and Rockygrass), performances at the IBMA conventions, as well as IBMA-sponsored workshops, teen showcases, and appearances at the 2008 Americana Music Association Conference. She was also privileged to participate in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Honors and Awards show honoring Alison Krauss. She cohosted (with Ryan Holladay) and performed at the Carnegie Hall Family Concert Series held in the renowned Isaac Stern Hall, and in February 2008 joined Ron Block, Bobby McFerrin, and Edgar Meyer at the same historic venue—after which the New York Sun praised her as a "wonderfully adapt" mandolin player and "a lovely singer."
Liz Longley, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Liz Longley was recently named the grand prize winner of the 2009 Rocky Mountain Folk Festival's Songwriters Showcase. In addition to receiving a custom guitar, Longley will be performing next summer on the main stage of the prestigious festival. She was also honored as a finalist at Texas's 2009 Kerrville Folk Fest and New York's 2009 Falcon Ridge Folk Fest.
This past year, Berklee awarded Longley its highest honor for songwriting, the Scott Benson Scholarship. Her song "Rush" was chosen as the no. 1 song in Berklee's 2009 Songwriting Competition. She was recently selected by Berklee to represent the school at the annual Kennedy Center Conservatory Project in Washington, D.C. In addition to regularly sharing the stage with Livingston Taylor, Longley has opened for acclaimed acts such as Colin Hay, Nanci Griffith, Kenny Rankin, and Jonathan Edwards. Music icon John Mayer, who surprised Longley and fellow students when he broke into an impromptu rendition of her song "Queen," has described her music as "Gorgeous . . . just gorgeous!"
City Music All-Stars, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
The Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble is composed of the best and brightest City Music students, all of whom have attended Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program on full-tuition scholarships. The ensemble performs multiple genres of contemporary music, including jazz, pop, hip-hop, and rhythm and blues.
Berklee Bob Marley Ensemble, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
The class entitled, The Music and Life of Bob Marley, was created by assistant professor of piano, Matt Jenson, at Berklee College of Music. Students enrolled in this class take an in-depth study of Marley's life, maintaining the utmost respect for the soulfulness of his music, for his message of love and his insistence that human consciousness be raised. Besides looking at Bob Marley as a person, they also perform his music on a weekly basis in the classroom. Today they will share the good vibes of his music in a non-academic setting in the heart of Boston.
Johnny Duke and the Aces, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Johnny Duke and the Aces is a high-energy blues band. While adding a new edge to a classic style, Duke continues to impress with his showmanship, songwriting, and graceful guitar skills. In addition to sharing the stage with B.B King and David Bromberg, Duke has performed with Jimmy Buffett, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jorma Kaukonen, Johnny Neel, and Toni Lynn Washington, among others. Duke is a recent graduate of Berklee, where he was showcased twice in their highly competitive Guitar Night. Through Berklee, he was invited to play the famous Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.