Festival opens with free, wine-free, student jazz show

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



If you go

• Jazz Education Night, part of the 15th annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival.

• When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday.

• Where: Esther Short Park, 301 W. Eighth St., downtown Vancouver.

• Cost: Free, but donations for local school music programs are welcomed.

• Information: 360-906-0441 or vancouverwinejazz.com.


• 6 to 6:30 p.m.: Heritage High School Jazz Band.

• 6:30 to 7 p.m.: Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band.

• 7 to 7:30 p.m.: Mountain View High School Jazz Band and Union High School Jazz Band.

• 7:45 to 9 p.m.: 56th U.S. Army Jazz Band.

There will be no wine at Thursday's opening event of the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, but there will be plenty of jazz.

Jazz Education Night, launched this year, will spotlight young jazz players from Washington schools, combined with a performance by the U.S. Army Jazz Band.

Michael Kissinger, founder and artistic director of the Wine & Jazz Festival, has wanted an event like this for about the past five years. Eventually, he wants to add a four-day jazz education camp so young jazz players can work with such headline performers as Diane Schuur and José Feliciano.

"It's our way of giving something back to the community," Kissinger said. "Our goal eventually is to make the festival a weeklong event, with jazz workshops where students can work with some of our great musicians."

Four schools will perform at the free event in Esther Short Park, including Heritage, Mountain View

and Union high schools from Clark County. The students have been practicing over their summer break for the event.

Sam Ormson, band director at Mountain View High School, said he thinks it's a great opportunity to get the kids out in front of a new audience.

"We're excited to be a part of it and to be playing," Ormson said. "We're really looking forward to Thursday night."

Those coming to the performance are encouraged to donate money to local school music programs. Heritage Bank has pledged to donate up to $2,000 in matching funds.

Kissinger said he hopes to draw more families to the Thursday event by making it alcohol-free.

"It'll be a different crowd," he said.

Ormson said he hopes to see a good crowd turn up to hear the kids play.

"We're really excited about this Jazz Education Night Partnership with the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival," he said.