Arts and Entertainment

Northwest's classic jazz festival set for March 8 at historic venue

Casey McGill’s Orchestra, a 14-piece group playing big band swing, headlines the Highline Classic Jazz Festival on March 8.  - Courtesy photo
Casey McGill’s Orchestra, a 14-piece group playing big band swing, headlines the Highline Classic Jazz Festival on March 8.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Burien Arts Association's sixth annual Highline Classic Jazz Festival presents 14 bands playing on three separate stages on Saturday, March, 8 from 2:30 to 10 p.m. at the Sound Event Center, 23660 Marine View Drive, in the Waterland Community of Des Moines.

Musicians will perform several styles of jazz, including early and mid-20th century jazz, from Dixieland, Gypsy jazz, blues, Western swing, Ragtime to big band swing as well as straight ahead jazz classics.

The great jazz experience includes concerts, dancing, food, drink and an opportunity to mingle with the musicians.

This will be the last opportunity for festival-goers to enjoy jazz at the venue.

"Landmark has announced that it will close as an event center in September," said festival director Lance Haslund. "This is indeed sad news, but we are even more determined to make this the best Festival yet."

The Sound Event Center lived a former life as "the Old Masonic Home." When the Freemasons of Washington state decided 90 years ago to build its retirement home, it selected legendary Northwest architect Frederick Heath, who just three years earlier had designed Paradise Inn at Mount Rainier.

Heath crafted a facility of slate and copper, Terra Cotta and Terrazzo, marble and stain glass. The "Castle on the Hill" opened its giant oak doors in 1926, a time when the festival's vintage jazz was new.

Haslund, a local musician, spends four months a year putting together the festival for the nonprofit Burien Arts Association. His wife, Laurie, coordinates volunteers.

Casey McGill's Orchestra, a 14-piece group playing big band swing, headlines the show.

Among the other top classic bands featured are:

• Ambience (www.ambiencejazz.net)

• Double Bill (Bill Anschell & Bill Ramsey) (www.billanschell.com)

• Holotradband (www.holotradband.com)

• Jacqueline Tabor Jazz Band (www.jacquelinetabor.com)

• The Jangles (www.janglesband.com)

• Jennifer Scott & Rene Worst (www.jenniferscott.ca)

• Jump Ensemble (www.jumpensemble.com)

• Odell's Medley (Alison Odell & Julian Smedley)

• Pearl Django (www.pearldjango.com)

• Ranger and the "Re-Arrangers" (www.rangerswings.com)

• Susan Pascal's Soul Sauce – A Tribute to Latin jazz legend Cal Tjader (www.susanpascal.com)

• Steinwagon (Ryan Burns & Dawn Clement)

There will be dancing and comfortable seating in the auditorium and in the banquet hall.

EJ's Catering (www.ejscustomcatering.com) will serve a full dinner, at $16. There will also be two no-host wine bars and a coffee bar.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors (65 and over) and free for youth 18 and under. They are sold at Burien Arts Gallery, 826 SW 152nd St. Tickets are also available at Brown Paper Tickets, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/553955.

For more information visit www.highlineclassicjazz.com.

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