This summer, live music on Whidbey Island is thriving.
Residents will have yet another chance to see performances in Oak Harbor, this time during the week at Windjammer Park.
Windermere Real Estate is partnering with the Oak Harbor Music Festival to put on the Sounds of Summer Concert Series at 6-7:30 p.m. on the first four Wednesday nights in August.
“We really wanted to do something that was just like, beyond the three-day event and that could be more for our local community,” said Kristen Stavros, a branch manager and co-owner of Windermere Real Estate Whidbey Island, which includes the Oak Harbor and Coupeville offices.
About three years ago, Stavros and Cynthia Mason, president of the Oak Harbor Music Festival, began talking about how Windermere could support the festival that has happened every September for the past 10 years. Stavros described Larry and Cynthia Mason as “gifts to our community like nobody else” and said that she was honored to work with them on the summer series.
Stavros saw the remodeled Windjammer Park as a perfect outdoor musical venue.
“It was just calling for music to be performed,” she said.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 delayed the creation of the concert series. This summer will be the event’s debut.
Stavros said being a part of the community is important to Windermere, which inspired her to create this concert series. Windermere is sponsoring the event.
The Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island will be opening up the concert series on Aug. 3. The Orchestra will play with the Gothard Sisters, three sisters from Edmonds who perform Celtic music. Saratoga Orchestra member Sean Brown arranged music from some of the Gothard Sisters’ recent releases for accompaniment by the orchestra.
“I think people have all sorts of preconceived notions about what an orchestra is, and I think this particular orchestra is really going to surprise and delight people who have never heard them before,” Stavros said.
She hopes that it will give people who may not otherwise go out of their way to see classical music a chance to hear an orchestra.
Along with the Gothard Sisters, about a dozen local high school students will be playing with the orchestra alongside their musical counterparts, a great opportunity to perform professionally.
“We love the idea of giving them a true stage to see what it might be like to be a professional musician,” Stavros said.
The Saratoga Orchestra will play under the picnic shelter closer to the water. The other musicals act will most likely play under the archway on the west side of the park by the basketball courts.
On Aug. 10, Zan Fiskum will perform. She is a folk-pop singer who appeared on Season 18 of “the Voice” where she was a Top 9 finalist.
“Zan played the 2021 Oak Harbor Music Festival and I thought she would be perfect for the Sounds of Summer Concert Series,” Larry Mason, who selected the musical acts for the series, wrote in an email.
The Chris Eger Band will play on Aug. 17. Mason described Eger as an amazing talent from the Northwest.
On Aug. 24, Janie Cribbs & the T. Rust Band is performing. It is a musical group from Whidbey Island. Cribbs is “Whidbey Island’s own rockstar,” according to Mason, and she and her band will “tear it up and entertain.”
Stavros said she thinks Oak Harbor has all of the potential to become a thriving waterfront community, and this concert series is one step in that direction.
“Especially coming out of COVID, to be able to enjoy something just for the act of enjoying its beauty, is what makes us human,” Stavros said. “What’s the point if we don’t enjoy this life, if we’re just surviving? And honestly, we have so much more going for us in Oak Harbor than just surviving and this is kind of a celebration of that.”