Drayton Harbor Music Festival to start July 9

Photo by Oliver Lazenby

By Alyssa Evans

It’s time to break out your dancing shoes – the Drayton Harbor Music Festival is back in town.

The Pacific Arts Association of Blaine is hosting the event from July 9 to 15 in Blaine. This will be the festival’s 16th year of bringing jazz to Blaine’s streets.

During the festival, students age 12 to 19 will attend a music camp and learn from professional musicians. Both
students and festival faculty will share their skills with the community at a series of public concerts. Students study jazz, vocals, a Capella, songwriting, rock, classical and contemporary music.

“I know of no other small-town organization so removed from easy access to large urban areas that produces a seven-day camp and festival with a staff of first-class professional musicians,” said Kitty King, the association’s president. “Each year we rise to the challenge of raising funds and recruiting students in a small community.”

Because the association has persevered, many students can apply for scholarships and community members can attend concerts for free, King said.

Outdoor concerts will be held at noon Monday through Friday at the G Street Plaza. A variety of evening concerts will take place at 7 p.m. in the Blaine Performing Arts Center. Admission is by donation with the exception of the Tuesday and Thursday evening concerts, which cost $20.

On Sunday, singer/songwriter Camille Bloom, jazz vocalist Greta Matassa and vocalist Amanda Taylor with the jazz group Groove for Thought will perform.

Bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann and Jovinos Santo Neto, a pianist, flutist and composer, will perform at the Jansen Art Center in Lynden at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Tickets are available at jansenartcenter.org.

Festival faculty will perform on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday’s performers will consist of jazz faculty, while Wednesday will feature the course “Classic to Contemporary” faculty.

The Big Band Benefit, complete with live music, dinner and dancing, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Blaine Pavilion. The cost to attend is $50 per person. Tickets are available at draytonharbormusic.org, the Blaine Visitor Center and the Pacific Building Center.

Festival students will bring their knowledge to the stage Friday and Saturday to culminate the event. Students perform in big bands, combos and vocal groups.

A student showcase with festival faculty will take place Friday. From 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, students will perform at the G and H street plazas, alongside a street fair.

The festival first started in 2002 as the Blaine Jazz Festival and has occurred annually ever since. The Pacific Arts Association was established in 2000 and its volunteers have run the festival each year.

“Over the years, the heart of the festival has remained the same,” King said. “We exist to bring music to our community and to enrich the lives of young musicians. The success of each year’s festival and the unmistakable pride on the faces of our students inspire us to continue.”

More information about the festival is available at draytonharbormusic.org.

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