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Empire editorial: A rite of spring

Posted: April 19, 2011 - 9:47pm

Eagles were teaching their young to fly last week, ravens were busy making more ravens and music wafted throughout the town. The Alaska Folk Festival Inc. board and volunteers did it again. The 37th-annual festival filled Centennial Hall with music lovers and overflowed into other venues.

We’d like to thank the organizers of a tradition born from an informal gathering of friends in the 1970s for bringing so much talent together.

Workshops taught dance, musical technique and even covered the business end of the music business.

Perhaps the best part was the variety presented on the main stage as performers took 15 minutes to showcase their talents. There was no headliner, and non-professionals mixed with the pros.

The festival was a one-stop shop to collect CDs from the many entertainers or buy music and historical books that are hard to find.

From the crowds on the streets and in local venues after festival hours we’re pretty sure the town also saw an economic boost from this musical event.

In days like these when disasters and wars occupy so much air and print space something like the Alaska Folk Festival brings many back to their roots, serving as a reminder that we all are parts of a cooperative society. Free events supported by the non-profit’s members taught and entertained and were open to all. Musicians held jam sessions all over town, freely sharing their talents with passers-by.

The festival is as much as breath of fresh air as the light spring breezes and unusually temperate climate the greeted the event’s final day Sunday.

The season of musical celebration has not ended.

Next month, from May 6 through May 21, the Juneau Jazz & Classics series will bring more musical events to town. There are some free concerts open to all, starting with a 6:30 p.m. event May 4 event at The Canvas titled “A Sneak Preview to the ‘Bravo Beethoven!’ Concert.”

Keep your eyes on the Empire’s pages for event listings, and don’t miss our special section coming soon to commemorate the 25th year of jazz and classical music celebrations by this dedicated non-profit group.

We can all be patrons of the arts, if not by donating money or time toward organizing these events, then by attending them. Take advantage of all Juneau has to offer, including our mountainous level of local musical talent.

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