Baker City to Host From Maxville to Vanport: A Community-Guided Music and Video Project

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RE:  From Maxville to Vanport: A Community-Guided Music and Video Project coming to Baker City in April of 2018

Marilyn Keller

Supported by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation’s Creative Heights program, the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble is producing a new concert of original songs and video inspired by the stories of the multi-cultural populations of Maxville and Vanport, two unique Oregon towns deserving a more prominent place in the telling of the state’s history.

This year-long project, includes community discussion events in Portland and Joseph in the fall of 2017, a performance tour to La Grande, Enterprise and Baker City in April 2018 and Portland in May, a studio album, short documentary film and two performances in Portland in conjunction with the Vanport Mosaic. It employs a five-member creative team in a collaborative process that hopes to speak with the communities that are connected to these stories, not for them.

Crossroads Carnegie Art Center and Baker Heritage Museum, in partnership, are pleased to host this wonderful event on Saturday, April 14, at the Baker Heritage Museum at 2480 Grove St. Social time with a no-host bar will begin at 5 p.m., with dinner being served at 6 p.m. The event will be in the grand ballroom of the Museum and there are only 100 tickets available. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are on sale for $50.00 a person at Crossroads, Baker Heritage Museum and with board members of both organizations. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Celebrating and building understanding of our shared history, it showcases the remarkable talents of the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble and vocalist Marilyn Keller, with video by Kalimah Abioto.

Gwendolyn Trice, Maxville Heritage Center

The artists will share the stories of the African- American experience through the lens of two unique communities:  Maxville, a former logging community in Wallowa County, and VanPort, a wartime housing development in Portland that, in the late 1940s would become a lightning rod of racial prejudice and, later, the site of one of Oregon’s most significant natural disasters.

Gwen Trice, Executive Director of the Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center in Joseph, will introduce the event and be on hand to answer questions. Jazz/Gospel singer Marilyn Keller will sing new material with lyrics by S. Renee Mitchell and composer Ezra Weiss, accompanied by the 12-piece Portland Jazz Composers ensemble.

The Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble is a 12-piece jazz ensemble which commissions and performs original works by its members and by other jazz composers in the Portland music community and beyond.

Crossroads and the Baker Heritage Museum will each host small silent auctions at the event to raise funds for their youth programming.

“Crossroads is thrilled the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble called wanting to do this event in Baker City, said Ginger Savage, Executive Director of Crossroads. “We immediately contacted the Baker Heritage Museum as we could not think of a better venue for this lovely event. The event combines music, storytelling, film making and a better understanding of the heritage and history of Oregon and is small fundraiser for our programs.”

”The Baker Heritage Museum is excited to be a part of the From Maxville to Vanport program. These stories and experiences are important to the history of our area, and we’re honored to be a partner in highlighting these topics within our community,” adds Carly Annable, Director of the Baker Heritage Museum. “The chance to offer such a multifaceted performance within Baker County is an opportunity we were not going to pass up.”

Proceeds from the event will go to support the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center Hand to Heart Scholarship Fund, which allows people of all ages to access Crossroads classes regardless of their ability to pay. Proceeds will also go the Baker Heritage Museum’s Youth Programs, including their Museum Summer Camp and staffing for their wonderful youth events and field trips.”

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble

The mission of the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble is to operate a large musical ensemble, to commission and perform original works by members of the ensemble and by other jazz composers in the Portland music community and elsewhere, to act as a forum for the development and presentation of works for large ensemble by established and emerging jazz composers, and to engage and enrich community awareness and appreciation of contemporary music.

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