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Festival Season - The Festival at Sandpoint

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In only the first four concerts, Sandpoint  has been given a cultural and ethnic collage, by the Festival at Sandpoint and the crowds have loved it all.  One of the mission objectives of the organization  states “ The Festival strives to cultivate cultural and ethnic diversity and to pursue all opportunities to inspire, enlighten, and educate our community with the greatest possible music and performing arts of the world: to forms new and old, and to artists known and unknown.”

     On opening night Warren Zevon excited the audience with his simple melodies and lyrics that ask sometimes unwanted questions.  Warren’s performance proved why he is called a songwriter’s songwriter.

     Opening for Zevon was Carl Rey and the Blues Gators.  Carl draws the blues out of his harmonica with passion and showmanship.  He and the Blues Gators warmed the crowd with  fun to listen to sounds that were the start to a great weekend of music.

     On Friday the Spokane Symphony Orchestra was “Going For Baroque” with Conductor Gary Sheldon.  The Lake, the full moon, even the osprey settled in to a relaxing evening with music by Jeremiah Clarke, Handel, J.S. Bach,  Pachelbel and Vivaldi.  This Baroque treat  was the fine musical quality that is the norm for The Spokane Symphony, a quality that compliments the mountains and stars that surround the Festival experience.  In keeping with tradition, a train rumbled though during a  quiet moment in the music.  Also keeping with tradition, during the intermition, The Coldwater Creek Music Scholarship Winner Emily Terrell performed. This year there will be two Coldwater Creek scholarships awarded.  The second goes to Jessica Hanna and will be awarded at the Grand Finale Concert on Sunday, August 12.  Emily returned after the break and joined Lydia Newell, Kim Houglum and Michael Piecuch in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins, Strings and Coninuo in B minor.  Gary Sheldon and the Orchestra ended the evening with J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in d major.  They brought the audience to their feet and sent them off filled with wonderful music.

    Super Saturday lived up to it’s name. It was truly super.  Keola Beamer and Family started the evening with their music, singing and dancing from Hawaii.  Keola is a master at the Slack Key Guitar a style that is not heard enough for this writer. His wife Moana, one of Hawaii’s premier hula dancers, and his mother “Auntie” Nona Beamer chanted and danced with him.  Nona Beamer was our own Festival Executive Director, Dyno Wahl’s hula teacher when she was a child on the Islands. 

    Scruj MacDuhk hit the stage with their brand of ‘Celtic rock.”  They sang across the lines of Celtic, old time string band and folk.  All the vocalist in this group of musicians were outstanding, but to hear lead singer Ruth Moody  on the stage under the stars sent many folks to their CD booth to take more home with them.  These six Canadian “old souls” were between 18 and 26 years of age and gave Sandpoint some excellent Guthrie and Paxton. 

     Finnally, and worth waiting for, Lee Ann Womack came to the stage.  Womack is one of Country Music’s hottest stars.  She sang and charmed with songs from the Beatles to her Grammy Award winning “I Hope You Dance.”  With outstanding vocal control and range this star proved she deserved  all the acclaim she has received.  Lee Ann, also, stayed late and signed autographs for her fans as they crowded the stage.

     Sunday was family day and brought a carnival atmosphere to Memorial Field.  It  was one of the Sandpoint Centennial events, and for about 2 hours after the gates opened  children oriented activities filled the stadium.  Then the Spokane Symphony presented “Where in the World of Music is Carmen Sandiego?  “The Case of the Missing Pyramid”.  It was a family day to be remembered and many families were out together to enjoy it.

    On Wednesday the Cultural and artistic diversity will continue with the swing sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  Thursday, World Music Night, brings Yellowman and the Sagittarius Band.  Yellowman will bring from his native Jamaica his own style of reggae.  Friday we reach to Canada again for Blue Rodeo with their rootsy folk-rock style that has gained them national attention in Canada.  Saturday the stage under the stars will be treated with the sounds  of  Saxophonist  Branford Marsalis with special guest, Sandpoint’s own Sabella Consort.   The Festival concludes on Sunday with “From Russia with Love” dedicated  to the memory of David H. Dalby. 

     From this line up of musicians , the mission objectives of the Festival are being met for yet another year and Sandpoint and its people

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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