What I Did on My Summer Vacation . . . Berklee-Style

Danielle Dreilinger
September 4, 2009
The Bob Marley Ensemble stirred things up and let them cool at the Charlemont Reggae Festival.
Can chimes bring out the sun? Student percussionist Paulo Stagnaro played with La Timbistica in New York.
Student band La Timbistica played the 32nd Freihofers Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York.
This summer, student Roy Guzman took his quintet to the Newport and Duke Ellington jazz festivals. Here, he records for Sirius XM Radio.
Photo by William Herron
Photo by William Herron
Photo by Rob Hayes

When you're a musician, your summer job is often going on tour. Every year, many Berklee students grab the opportunity to travel and perform. This summer, several reported back on their experiences for the Berklee on Tour blog. Some went on college-sponsored trips to festivals in places such as New York and Washington, D.C.; others flew solo to Texas, Connecticut, Colorado, and beyond. As the new semester begins, read excerpts from their road stories.

Read more student stories on the Berklee on Tour blog.

Liz Longley, student singer/songwriter, competed in the Kerrville Folk Festival's showcase in Texas.

Before the show, the staff stressed to the finalists that the crowd is "here to love you!" Well, that didn't calm my nerves! I thought, "They might want to love you, but that doesn't mean they will." But I played today and once I was up there, I really did feel the love. By the time I went on, the rain was pouring and it sounded beautiful on the theater's tin roof. It was funny because part of the lyric to my first song was "you've got a way of coming over me like rain in June." So the rain on the tin roof was kind of an epic touch.

I went back to the campgrounds after the show and sat with a bunch of songwriters. We played in a circle for a while and I was in heaven.

Staff member Billy Herron watched student band La Timbistica at the 32nd Freihofers Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York.

As the funky Latin grooves and beautiful arrangements floated out into the rainy, cloudy Saratoga midday, Paulo Stagnaro suddenly played the chimes in his percussion kit. Like in a film, the sun's rays illuminated my forehead and reflected off some audience members' glasses. Thanks, Paulo! Now could you please walk around Boston playing the chimes all day for the rest of the "summer"?

Eric Robertson, student mandolinist, played the Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival in Connecticut with his band the Boston Boys.

I was a little nervous going into the festival, as our set was sandwiched among some of my favorite hardcore bluegrass bands (Josh Williams, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, the Lonesome River Band, etc.). But we took the stage and did our thing, playing mostly songs from our upcoming album, Listen. I think the audience was a bit shocked when they first heard the drum kit during our sound check. But as the set began and we settled into a groove, we got a great response from the crowd . . . especially after guitarist Stash Wyslouch taught them how to dance while sitting down.

Staff member Rob Hayes watched the Roy Guzman Quintet perform for Sirius XM Radio in Washington, D.C.

15 minutes in, the band has hit its stride, and into the control room walks Mark Ruffin, Real Jazz program director. And soon, despite all he has to do today—editing, voice-tracking, and hosting radio programs—he's fixed right on the band, almost inside it, he's listening so intently. Dreads swinging a little as his head dips and tips with transitions and riffs he particularly likes. Clearly enjoying himself.

Tim Luckow, student bassist, played the Charlemont Reggae Festival in Massachusetts with the Bob Marley Ensemble.

As our bus driver pulled off the most amazing uphill turn I have ever seen a bus do, we pulled into the festival, and immediately, we all got a feeling of excitement to play to a crowd like this. It was very laid back, yet everyone was extremely into the music.

The second we hit the stage we were all feeling great, kicking it right off with "I Shot the Sheriff," with a killer keyboard solo. There were many other highlights in the set, whether it was getting to dub out "Crazy Baldheads" or the horn solo of "Slave Driver." All in all it was just one of the most fun shows I have ever had the opportunity to play, and am so thankful I got to!