It’s time for the annual jazz festival

Published on Thu, May 29, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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It’s time for the annual jazz festival

By Jack Kintner

The seventh annual Blaine Jazz Festival sponsored by the Pacific Arts Association is coming up soon. This year’s edition begins on Sunday, July 6, at the end of the 4th of July long weekend, and continues through Saturday, July 12.

The Festival’s faculty is from all over the country, and some of the students make quite a trek to get here as well. Sean Gray-Juliam, 17, and Tristan Pluta, 12, are music students from New Orleans who will be attending this year’s jazz camp on a scholarship provided by Bob and Janet Dales, Blaine residents who have wintered in the Big Easy for over 20 years.

There is a continuing need for scholarship support such as that provided by the Dales, according to festival co-producer and fund raising chair Bruce Wolf, who pointed out that student tuition and support from Blaine and Bellingham (where some of the evening concerts will be held) cover only about half the cost of the event, the rest made up by private contributions.

Supporting gifts range from covering a student’s tuition ($250), adding room and board ($600), sponsoring a faculty member ($1,000) or becoming a festival underwriter ($2,500). Interested donors are asked to contact Wolf at 319-9388 or 371-0141.

Students are encouraged to sign up as early as possible to take advantage of some early registration benefits, such as being able to register for a $50 deposit instead of having to pay the entire $250 tuition all at once. Early birds also get the first shot at reserving time for private lessons.

The festival features a week of intense rehearsals, combos, improv, composition, and other classes for teens aged 12 to 18, and for those 18-23 there is a mentor program. Students study with the festival’s internationally recognized faculty, who also perform during the week.

All this culminates in the jazz concert on Saturday that ends the week. It features student big bands, combos and vocal groups as well as multiple performances by visiting jazz artists.

Aside from the comprehensive programs in both instrumental and vocal jazz, a new program in Swing Dance will be added this year as well as one specifically designed for Classically oriented students called Classics Plus. It is possible to mix programs in dance, instrumental, and vocal jazz.

In the highly popular vocal program, students can study vocal music or a mix of vocal and instrumental jazz and/or swing dance. Students concentrating just on vocal will study both solo and ensemble jazz. The $25 per half hour private lessons for either instrumental or vocal students are limited to a maximum of two lessons per student per instructor, based on a first come/ first served basis.

For more information visit www.blainejazzfestival.org, or www.pacificartsassoc.org/jazzfestival.html. For assistance registering online, call 360/371-0141.