Berklee Today

Concert Raises $12,000 for Wehmiller Scholarship

  From the left: John Wehmiller, Rick Musallam, Bryan Beller, Abe Wehmiller, Mike Keneally, Paula Wehmiller, Peter Gordon, and Kira Small after the February WesFest concert in Los Angeles

The first annual WesFest, a concert to benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Memorial Scholarship at Berklee College of Music, took place at the Gig in Los Angeles on February 16, 2006. It was a gathering of friends, family, and loved ones for a night of music and celebration of the life of Wes Wehmiller (1971-2005), an extraordinarily talented bassist known for his work with Duran Duran and Missing Persons, and on countless other projects in and around the Los Angeles and Vancouver, Washington, areas

Bandleader and bassist Bryan Beller '92 was a driving force in organizing this four-hour event. Alumni were featured throughout the evening, including bandleader and vocalist Kira Small '93, vocalist and leader of the band Touched; Colin Keenan '93; vocalists Jude Crossen '91, Tristana Ward '93, and Dawn Bishop '92; guitarist Griff Peters '93; and drummer Joe Travers '91. Dan Rockett, Ali Handal, SMUG, and the Mike Keneally Band rounded out the roster of performers. All of the players recalled how they were touched by Wehmiller's spirit, music, and photography (his pictures were used in the album artwork for many of the acts).

The event was a great success, raising more than $12,000 for the Wes Wehmiller scholarship fund. It attracted an audience from far and wide, including Wehmiller's parents, Paula and John, and his brother Abe. The performers all said that they were honored to participate and their comments were indicative of a general vibe throughout the evening that Wehmiller's memory remains very much alive.

One month later, on March 15, the inaugural Wes Wehmiller Memorial Endowed Scholarship was presented at the Danny Mo Jam 2006, which was produced by Wes's former bass instructor Danny Morris. When asked about the choice of Will Snyder as the award's recipient, Morris said: "Rich Appleman [Bass Department chair] and I were looking for a student who most exemplified Wes Wehmiller's spirit and musicianship. Will plays music with a love and concern for every note he plays on his instrument. His command of harmony is displayed in his thoughtful note choices. Wes had this same less-is-more approach that is preserved on the numerous sessions he recorded while living in L.A. Will and I had the pleasure of performing together in Boston on March 15 at a concert that reminded us of what Wes Wehmiller was all about: good vibes, family, and some gospel-tinged r&b that shook the rafters."

To learn more about the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship, visit