High school band to host concerts at Marine Park

Published on Wed, Aug 18, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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Anyone saddened by the slowly shortening days of late August will have two upcoming evening concerts to ease the gradual departure of summer.

The Blaine Fine Arts Association and the Blaine High School Wind Ensemble are hosting two evenings of music at the Blaine Marine Park amphitheater.

The concerts are free, and donations will be accepted to help fund the wind ensemble’s trip to the 2011 Funabashi Music Festival in Tokyo, Japan.

The first concert is Thursday, August 19, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature an evening of Celtic music with international influences performed by members of Eagle’s Whistle and Fisher Street. Blaine high school science teacher Don Sayegh will be among the performers.

The Glacier Bay Brass Quintet and The Spinnaker Trombones will perform brass chamber music on the Thursday, August 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. The two groups have been playing as ensembles for more than 20 years.

Dorita Gray, co-chair of the wind ensemble’s fund-raising efforts, said the concerts are the most recent attempts at gathering enough money to pay for the 55 students in the wind ensemble to travel to Japan. The group also raised money by selling strawberry pies during Blaine’s Fourth of July celebration. “We do almost everything we can to get them there,” she said.
The trip, which will be the ensemble’s third, will cost about $2,600 per student, Gray said. The journey is scheduled to begin on January 25 and return the students to Blaine on February 4.

The wind ensemble first traveled to the Funabashi Music Festival in 2003 when they were the first student performing group from the U.S. to receive an invitation to the festival, Gray said.

The group’s first trip led to two subsequent invitations to the festival in addition to exchanges with Japanese student performing groups, she pointed out.

Gray said the students in the ensemble feel incredibly lucky and honored to be invited to the festival three separate times. The ensemble’s 2011 trip has special meaning because they will be one of the last student bands at the festival, since it is ending in 2013.

While in Japan, the wind ensemble will perform in numerous venues around Tokyo and the Funabashi area, in addition to their concert at the festival.

The high school students will get the chance to experience myriad aspects of Japanese culture while staying with their Japanese host families, Gray said.

The concerts, in addition to acting as fundraisers, are opportunities for the local music community to learn about what the wind ensemble is doing, Gray said.

The ensemble hopes to be able to travel to other countries and share their music, she said.