Berklee Represents at Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals

Rob Hayes
August 6, 2014
The Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir on the Newport Folk Festival's Fort Stage.
Ages and Ages joined by the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir
Irish phenom Hozier, joined at Newport by the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir
Photo by Michael Borgida
Photo by Michael Borgida
Photo by Michael Borgida

Fifteen strong—eight vocalists, and seven instrumentalists who also sing—the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir (BGRC), led by Berklee ensemble professor Nedelka Prescod, returned to the musically sacred space of the Newport Folk Festival on Sunday, July 27.

Not your parents’ gospel choir, the BGRC—with members from Australia, Bermuda, China, Kenya, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States—trade in both remarkable human voices and surprising repertoire. One year after its startling Newport Folk debut, the choir again opened the Fort Stage with its own, rousing, Sunday morning set.  

New this year, the choir was invited to collaborate and perform set-closing songs with two burgeoning artists:  Ages and Ages (also on the Fort Stage), and Hozier (on the Harbor Stage). Both artists were thrilled with the results; there were big smiles all around.

As usual, NPR Music and New York’s WFUV-FM were seemingly everywhere at the Newport Folk Festival, and they captured it all.

•  Hear the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir’s set on the main stage

•  Hear Ages and Ages with the Choir performing “Divisionary (Do the Right Thing" (at approximately the 35-minute mark)

Berklee brought another talented group to Newport on Friday, August 1. The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, with special guest, tenor saxophone wizard David Sanchez, opened the main stage of the Newport Jazz Festival. Like the Choir's set, the Amabssadors' entire performance is available as a stream on NPR Music.

Hear David Sanchez and the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors' main stage set.