Enjoy diverse traditional music styles at the International Concert Series

Peace Arch State Park concerts feature music from Scandinavia, the Caribbean and French Canada, along with the world’s only seated marching band

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program invites the public to the annual Peace Arch International Concert Series at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the U.S.-Canadian border in Whatcom county.

The free one-hour concerts are scheduled for 2 p.m. each Sunday in August, beginning Aug. 6, at Peace Arch Historical State Park, 1900 A St., Blaine. In celebration of the Pacific Northwest’s diverse cultures, the series features music and dance performances representing communities and traditions from throughout the state: Scandinavian fiddle, Caribbean steel pan, French Canadian and Appalachian, and the rousing music of a community brass band.

This summer’s performance schedule:

Aug. 6: Hale Bill & The Bopps

Hale Bill & the Bopps, based in the Seattle-Tacoma area, offers a musical buffet of toe-tapping tunes from all the Nordic countries—schottisches, waltzes, polskas and much more. The band dishes up the tunes with fiddle, keyboard and voice, plus nyckelharpa (Swedish) and Hardanger fiddle (Norway)—two instruments many in the audience may be seeing for the first time. Hale Bill & the Bopps musicians have been on the Pacific Northwest folk music scene since the 1970s and 1980s, performing primarily at folkdances and festivals. The band took on the name Hale Bill & the Bopps in 1997 while the comet known as Hale Bopp was streaking across the sky.  Along with their CD released in 2008, the Bopps can be heard on the soundtrack of two documentaries on aspects of Puget Sound history, “Port Blakely: Memories of a Mill Town” and “Finding Thea” on the life of Tacoma’s iconic tug, the Thea Foss.

Aug. 13: Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project

The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project is based out of The Martin Luther King Community Center in Seattle and is a multi-generational, multi-ethnic women’s Caribbean steel drum band.  The band gives women and girls the opportunity to learn how to play and perform Caribbean steel drums and is dedicated to creating a space for women and girls in music through arts education. The steel drum—also called “pan”—is a mallet instrument originating in the 1940s on the island of Trinidad. The Project started in 2013 under the administrative direction of Oriana Estrada and the artistic direction of Michael Shantz. The women who currently make up the group come from a variety of musical and artistic backgrounds.

Aug. 20: Lisa Ornstein & Dan Compton

Virtuoso fiddler Lisa Ornstein and ace guitarist Dan Compton relish musical conversation. They transcend the form of the fiddle-and-guitar duo by playing completely together from somewhere deep inside the music. A concert with these two takes the audience on a journey deep into the musical heartlands of Quebec and Appalachia, with side trips for songs, stories and original compositions. The depth and diversity of Ornstein’s musical experiences and her powerful playing find their match in Compton’s imaginative, innovative approach to guitar. The result is a dazzling array of tunes and styles. Real-deal music from players who know the traditions inside and out, served up fresh with a side of new tunes.

Aug. 27: The Sedentary Sousa Band

Bringing their own party with them, the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band, Seattle’s own non-marching march band, plays the greatest hits of band music and rousing classics by John Philip Sousa, Henry Fillmore and more. This spirited 40-piece brass and wind band comes with a colorful array of band uniforms collected from across the United States. Band director Liz Dreisbach spins tall tales of marching bands of yore, while the  world’s only seated majorette, Edith Farrar, takes her place at the front of the band and performs stunning feats of seated baton-twirling. Under no circumstances will this band get up and march!

The concerts are free. A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the park: www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

The International Concert Series is part of a broader series of events celebrating Washington’s diverse cultural communities, presented by the Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program with funding provided by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington State Parks Foundation.

For more information about the Folks and Traditional Arts in the Parks program, including upcoming events, visit: http://parks.state.wa.us/folkarts or contact Debbie Fant, Program Coordinator, at deborah.fant@parks.wa.gov or 360-902-8635.

About Peace Arch Historical State Park

The 30-acre park, which lies on the boundary between the United States and Canada, is the ideal setting for this concert series, which celebrates the rich and diverse cultures of the Pacific Northwest. The day-use park is known for its lush gardens, vast lawns, panoramic views of Point Roberts and Vancouver Island and the 67 foot Peace Arch monument.

- Washington State Parks

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