With almost four decades of performing festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses, colleges, and house concerts, along with a half dozen acclaimed CDs, Bernice Lewis has built a solid national fan base. She is also a published poet, a producer, and an educator extraordinaire. Lewis — who studied vocal improvisation with Bobby McFerrin, guitar technique with Alex DeGrassi and Guy van Duser, and songwriting with Rosanne Cash and Cris Williamson — has been a featured performer on NPR’s Mountain Stage program, as well as at the Kennedy Center. In 2008, she was awarded an Artist in Residence position by the National Park Service. In 1987, she was a finalist in the prestigious New Folk Songwriting Contest at the Kerrville (Texas) Folk Festival, where she continues to be a main stage favorite. Her ballad, “Bridges That Hold,” was included in Peter, Paul and Mary’s Lifelines video (PBS). She was featured in Yoga Journal for her work with sound and yoga, and has shared the stage with many renowned artists, including Dar Williams, Dixie Chicks, Patty Griffin, Pete Seeger, Ellis Paul, Rory Block, Livingston Taylor, Odetta, Christine Lavin, Marty Sexton, Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, Mary Gauthier… it’s a long list. She has a forty-year old daily yoga practice, loves good coffee, and her religion is the Grand Canyon.
“For me, it’s about the songs, each different, each a well thought out message, each a labor of love,” says Bernice. Her seventh CD, Checks & Love Letters, was released in 2014 on Houston based Berkalin Records. Produced in Nashville by Mike T Lewis of The Twangtown Paramours, this collection of originals features guest appearances by Jimmy Van Cleve of Mountain Heart, Harris Paleltiner of Darlingside, and MaryBeth Zamer of The Twangtown Paramours..
Bernice is The Artist Associate in Songwriting at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. She also teaches at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO, Rock On Camp at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA, as well as at many schools and retreat centers. She has also been an Artist in Residence and workshop presenter at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, Kripalu Center for Yoga in Lenox, MA, and Esalen Institute in Big Sur.
Bernice is also becoming widely known for her History Alivepresentation, a multi-media discussion of her family’s emigration from Nazi Germany, specifically designed for Junior and Senior High School classrooms. Her song, “Ways to Survive,” won an award from the American Zionist Movement in 1996.
Her writings and recordings will be archived in the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.