This past weekend was a big one for bluegrass at the Berklee College of Music. Not only did the school award Alison Krauss an honorary doctorate, and feature some of their talented bluegrass students and recent graduates in the big pre-commencement concert on Friday night, Saturday saw one of our youngest bluegrass stars, Sierra Hull, receive her diploma.
It is the custom at Berklee to have members of the student body perform the night before graduation at a concert where they feature the music of the honorees chosen each year. These are elaborate affairs, and it is a high honor for any student to be selected.
When time came to offer a tribute to Ms. Krauss, Sierra Hull kicked off Everytime You Say Goodbye and offered her own rendition of the song, doing an admirable job in a key unsuited to her voice. She was joined by Alex Hargreaves, Mike Barnett and John Mailander on fiddle, Courtney Hartman on guitar, Nick DiSebastian on bass and Lukas Pool on banjo. That was followed by Molly Tuttle singing Take Me For Longing with Pool switching from three finger to clawhammer banjo.
The stage then filled with students for a rambunctious medley of both the bluegrass and old time versions of Cluck Old Hen, under the enthusiastic direction of Matt Glaser, with recent alum and Gibson Brothers mandolinist Joe Walsh joining in. After a video tribute to Krauss’ career highlights, Alison took the stage to sing Down In The River To Pray with a student Gospel choir.