Letters to the Editor

Oak Harbor's jazz festival return welcome

It is with delight that we read of the upcoming Oak Harbor Music and Jazz Festival! It sounds like a much-needed shot in the arm for our local community, and one we hope the good people of Oak Harbor rally around.  Many might remember the ten year run the Kiwanis’ jazz festival had back in the ‘90s. People and bands came from all over and Oak Harbor became known as a good place to visit by jazz aficionados. It could become that again.

My husband and I were on the planning committee for the last five years of the festival, and are well aware of the time, effort and money involved to set up a memorable event. We did it to raise money for musical scholarships, and it was certainly a successful citywide effort. We would have at least three big venues, such as the Elks, the Yacht Club, NAS Whidbey and a few others.

Manning these sites and providing shuttle service between them took up a tremendous amount of planning and effort. The committee, which consisted of six volunteers, under the leadership of Jim Koepke, met once a week throughout the year to plan the different facets of the event. After ten years, the festival was discontinued for a variety of reasons. I know many have mentioned how they miss our great jazz festival.

For those of you who miss the old festival, as well as for those newcomers who love music, this is the time for the citizens of Oak Harbor to pull together to support the inception of the new Oak Harbor Music and Jazz Festival. Granted it will take time and effort on the part of many, but we are now faced with the opportunity to put our little city on the map, again -- and help out our neighbors at the same time. I can just hear Helen Chatfield-Weeks cheering us on! Hip, hip, hooray!

Ken and Helen Bates
Oak Harbor


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