You might not know it, but Jefferson High School was once known for its expansive art and music programs. But for years now, the three-story music wing has been silent. Practice rooms are empty, instruments sit unused and like-new uniforms sit listless on their hangers.
It was enough to make Bonnie Gilchrist cry.
But Gilchrist turned her sorrow – which quickly turned to anger – into the Rose City Music Festival.
For the next two weekends, the festival will attempt to raise enough money to hire resident artists to help bring back Jefferson's once celebrated programs for music, graphic arts and drama.
"It's going to take more than what we're going to be able to raise this year to bring back these programs," she told The Skanner News.
The next two weekends will feature performances by Pink Martini, the Jefferson Dancers, Devin Phillips Jazz Quartet, Cool Nutz, Michael Allen Harrison, Shirley Nanette, Lifesavas and more. The festival will kick off at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 25 with a performance by Pink Martini at Jefferson, 5210 N. Kerby. The festival continues, Sept. 30 with Jefferson Dancers, DoJump!, Polaris and Devin Phillips; Oct. 1 at the Multnomah Athletic Club with Mike Phillips; and then culminates on Oct. 2 with a three-stage, all-day performance schedule.
Gilchrist and the Jefferson Alumni Association hope to make the festival an annual one. The alumni association sponsorship allows the festival to devote one hundred percent of the profits to Jefferson. Gilchrist says there will also be an effort to win grants and find other areas of music support.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, Jefferson Alumni Association President Maggie Mashia is organizing an instrument drive. Anyone with unused trumpets, clarinets, and other band instruments in good working order are encouraged to donate them to the school for a tax deduction.
There will also be a pre-festival contest for young musicians aged 6-18 who are invited to submit a video of their performance to Michael Allen Harrison's Snowman Foundation and the Rose City Music Festival by Sept. 22 to win a chance to perform on-stage Oct. 2. The top 20 entries will perform with Harrison; 10 finalists will perform during his Ten Grands Concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on April 23, 2011. There is a $1,000 scholarship for the musician with the highest score. To enter go to www.k103.com Enter key words: Young Artist Awards.
For tickets to the festival, visit www.ticketsoregon.com. All Jefferson cluster students will receive a free ticket on Oct. 2 for the day portion of the festival.
"Many can remember when the arts magnet program at Jefferson High meant they were the marching band we wanted to see at the Rose Festival Parade. And then there was the choir that rocked stages throughout our community," said Maggie Mashia, Music Festival Administrator and president of the Jefferson High School Alumni Association in a release. "Through the Rose City Music Festival we hope to revive the arts program here, and bring those sources of civic pride back to the Jefferson High School community and the city of Portland."
The full schedule:
Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.
Jefferson Dancers, DoJump!, Polaris and The Devin Phillips Jazz Quartet.
Friday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.
Mike Phillips at the Multnomah Athletic Club
Saturday, Oct. 2 from 2 to 10 p.m.
3 Stages, All Day With Non-stop Music and Dance
Including; Tom Grant, Michael Allen Harrison, Ron Steen, Shirley Nanette, Valerie Day, Shelly Rudolph, Jackie Salzinger, Obo Addy, Gretchen Mitchell, Linda Hornbuckle, Mike Phillips, Brant Colella Band, Cool Nutz, Tony Ozier, Toni Hill, Keegan Smith, Lifesavas, Farnell Newton, Tahirah Memory, Jefferson Dancers, Urban Arts Dance Company, The SEI Choir, ASA and Body Vox2.