2005in reviewPacificArts Association

Published on Thu, Jan 5, 2006 by Sandy Wolf

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2005 in review
Pacific Arts Association

By Sandy Wolf

2005 was a gratifying year for the Pacific Arts Association. We expanded our membership and added new board members and an illustrious name to our group of artistic advisors. Joe Robinson joined Martin Kuuskmann and Ted DeCorso as consultants for the PAA. This trio of outstanding performers/music education experts rivals the expertise any concert group might seek. Robinson recently retired as principal oboe with the New York Philharmonic.

In January, we produced a concert/fund raiser in the Performing Arts Center with Martin Kuuskmann, bassoon; Ted DeCorso, clarinet; and Matt Herskowitz, piano. That concert is memorable both for the astounding quality of its music and the horror of the weather conditions one had to brave in order to attend. The streets and parking lot were glare ice, but the brave souls in the audience gave it a standing ovation.
In February, the PAA sent two members as representatives to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho. They spread the word there about Blaine’s Jazz Festival and were successful in drawing students to our festival the following July.

Mark Nadler burst upon our stage in March, delighting a big crowd with his wacky humor and superb piano playing. He danced, he sang, and he brought a bit of New York to Blaine.

May brought us Misty River, a wonderful contrast to our usual line up of concerts. They combined Celtic, Folk, and Blue Grass and became Americana.

Our Jazz Festival in July was our biggest to date. We hosted over 85 kids from Oregon, Washington, and Canada for a week of wonderful classes, rehearsals, and workshops with a faculty drawn from around the U.S. Included in our students were several dependents of deployed military, all of whom came to Blaine on scholarships donated by many generous people. We are continuing to work with the Julian Melo Memorial Fund to bring military dependents to the festival, and are searching for two or more Iraqi students to join us next July.

Concurrent with our festival teaching program we presented concerts in Marine Park every noon, which were free and open to the public. Our main stage evening concerts included Jovino Santos Neto; Ray! showcasing the music of Ray Charles; A String of Pearls, showcasing our jazz faculty; and Greta! featuring great vocalist Greta Matassa. In addition, we did an evening concert at the Village Green in Fairhaven.
In keeping with our mission, we provided stage experience for students with our student jazz concert and in a featured performance at the Lynden Raspberry Festival. A few outstanding students joined our faculty on the stage for A String of Pearls, and we invited university students to perform two of our noon concerts. The Main Characters vocal jazz group and the Trad Jazz Band came to us from Western Washington University.

In August we delighted in a cooperative effort with the Bellingham Festival of Music Chamber Players who played outdoors at the Semiahmoo Golf Club. In spite of wind and rain, a packed audience stayed to listen to superb performances by some of the best orchestra members in the world, including Joe Robinson on the oboe.
We followed up in December with Winter Harp, a longtime favorite of audiences in Blaine.

We produced a visual art exhibit at each main stage concert and adopted Bob McDermott’s sculpture, The Vigil, planned for Blaine’s boardwalk in the coming months. McDermott, who sculpted Dirty Dan Harris in Fairhaven, is working now on the sculpture which will depict an Icelandic grandmother, wife, and son who look out to sea awaiting the return of a beloved fisherman, reflective of Blaine’s early history. The Pacific Arts Association will administrate monies collected from the public to fund the sculpture.

The Pacific Arts Association anticipates completing our current season with a superb concert this February 18 with Martin Kuuskmann, bassoon and Dave Taylor, bass trombone. Our 2006 season kicks off this July when we host the Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble of New Orleans, and we are in negotiations for several other exciting concerts for 06/07.

We thank our local supporters for the opportunity to bring a world of art to our shore in Blaine.