Concert series swells the PAC

Published on Thu, Jun 14, 2001 by Brendan Shriane

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Concert series swells the PAC

By Brendan Shriane

The Pacific Arts Association (PAA) is bringing a world of art to Blaine this year.

“We see our mission as bringing groups to Blaine that wouldn’t usually come here and with our underwriting, we can provide it at a price people can afford,” said Sandy Wolf, PAA board member.

PAA’s 2001/2002 season kicks off with the Four Freshmen, who bring their four part harmonies to the Performing Arts Center on August 25. The Saturday evening show is something PAA is testing out to see if it works. Last year all the performances were on Sunday afternoons.

The season resumes October13 with another evening performance. “Naughty Ladies of the Night” is Canadian-born Nancy Hermiston’s tribute to the risqué women of opera and musicals. Selections include “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No!” from Oklahoma and Mary Magdalene’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar.

December 16 the program returns to Sunday afternoons with Winter Harp. The group features renowned harpists Lisa Littlejohn and Jill Whitman in a celebration of Christmas. Whitman is a professor at Western Washington University. Wolf said the performance is theatrical and moving, with a hometown, neighborly feel. “We expect it to sell out. It was so popular last year,” Wolf said. “We’re lucky to get them, they’ve traveled all over, but around Christmas time they’re willing to be closer to home.”

Local residents Peggy Kent and John Smrke, the owners of Eden Roc Mineral Corporation, present “Ebony and Ivory: George G to Lenny B!” February 10. The husband and wife are completely underwriting the concert by pianist Eduard Zilberkant and clarinetist Theodore DeCorso who will play a medley celebrating the great swing clarinetists, a sonata by Leonard Bernstein and other lighter selections.

The concert unites two musicians who came to Blaine separately last year. “Theodore and Edward are brilliant musicians,” Kent said. “Blaine and Whatcom County will be very receptive to them. I think it’ll be a great concert.” Kent and Smrke will host a reception following the performance.

Kent wants the PAA to keep bringing great artists to town. “PAA has done a fantastic job bringing tremendous musicians to this community and we wanted to help continue that. We are lovers of the arts and we’d very much like to see arts grow in Whatcom County.”

The concert season “gives children in town a chance to see arts they wouldn’t normally see unless they were in a big city,” she said.

Kent hopes this concert will pique the interest of locals with its lighter fare. “If we can entertain people for a few hours, they’ll come back. Sometimes you walk out of a theater and say ‘that was too heavy.’ We didn’t want that to happen.”

Zilberkant and DeCorso, both University of Alaska-Fairbanks faculty members, will be hosting a free workshop on the Saturday before the show for interested students.

PAA’s season ends with True North Brass on May 5. The Canadian quintet plays selections from Bach and Verdi to the more contemporary compositions of Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington. Wolf will be hosting a reception for the musicians after the show featuring the Blaine high school jazz band.

Like Zilberkant and DeCorso, True North Brass will have a teaching workshop the day before the concert.

Tickets are on sale now. Full season tickets are $60 for adults, $30 for students. Individual show tickets are $15 per person. All shows will be at the PAC.

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