WesFest 6: A Tradition of Success

  From the left: Professor Danny Morris, Paula Wehmiller (mother of the late Wes Wehmiller), Pino Palladino, and Wehmiller Scholarship winners Joshua Tyson, and Justin Schornstein (2010 winner).
  Photos by John Wehmiller
  Joshua Tyson of East Orange, NJ, was this year's Wes Wehmiller Scholarship winner.

The sixth annual WesFest benefit concert (WesFest 6), took place at the Roxy in Los Angeles on February 27. For the third consecutive year, the event and related fundraising effort raised more than $20,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee. Since its inception in 2006, the total dollars raised by WesFest exceed $90,000, and the amount is projected to top $100,000 in 2012.

Fusion supergroup PSP headlined this year's concert. The members of the group are drummer Simon Phillips, keyboardist Philippe Saisse '78, and bassist Pino Palladino. The show marked PSP's live Southern California debut. The group also brought a special energy to the event; Wehmiller often cited Palladino as his most important musical influence. WesFest coproducer Bryan Beller '92 remarked, "For those of us who really knew Wes and loved his extremely fluid, soulful playing style, it was like going straight to the energy source. We all stood in awe watching Pino do his thing, and the whole WesFest community got a much deeper appreciation for why Wes's playing was so special."

In a longstanding WesFest tradition, the 2010 Wehmiller Scholarship winner, Joshua Tyson of East Orange, NJ, performed at the February concert. Tyson's bass playing brought a deep sense of groove to the show, anchoring a band consisting primarily of Berklee alumni and led by Berklee Professor Danny Morris '78, Wehmiller's mentor and close friend.

For more on Wes Wehmiller and the WesFest concert series, visit www.weswehmiller.net.

Peter Gordon '78
Director of Berklee Center in LA