Supported by an $80,000 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, including community discussion events in Portland and Joseph in the fall, 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, 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.
The event will begin with a short talk about Maxville by Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center Executive Director Gwen Trice, a short talk about Vanport by project vocalist Marilyn Keller, and a performance of an original song with lyrics by S. Renee Mitchell, featuring Keller, and composer Ezra Weiss at the piano. After the performance, the rest of the event will be dedicated to an open conversation about the project and the histories that will inspire it, with Trice, Keller, Mitchell, and video artist Kalimah Abioto.
Poet S. Renee Mitchell will also be a featured reader at the Fishtrap Fireside event the night before, along with two other local featured readers and an open mic. That event takes place 7 pm, Friday, November 3, 2017 at Fishtrap, 400 E. Grant St., Enterprise. Free admission.