Heads up music lovers! Soundwaves is returning this summer season with great performances planned in the Lake Champlain Region. Soundwaves is a summer community concert series curated by Taylor Haskins. The concerts are held Thursday evenings, July 2nd through August 13th, at Ballard Park in Westport, directly on the Adirondack Coast. This top notch musical entertainment collection has been specially crafted by Haskins, a well-renowned, Grammy Award-winning, jazz trumpeter and composer himself, who now makes his home in Westport. This is Soundwaves second year offering these incredible concerts at Ballard Park. We are very fortunate indeed and so looking forward to this summer season.
Originally from New Hampshire, Haskins has spent a good share of his career in New York City. He has performed, recorded and toured around the world while being recognized as having a significant fresh “voice” on the trumpet. He certainly does make that trumpet talk! His album, “Fuzzy Logic” (2014), has received widespread acclaim. What a treat to be able to enjoy his talent, as well as his creative music performance selections, against a backdrop of the Champlain Valley's scenic beauty.
Ballard Park is a striking natural amphitheatre. Meticulously groomed sloping lawns envelop a charming performance pavilion. Behind the pavilion, Lake Champlain’s blue waters stretch out to meet the Green Mountains of Vermont. This particular Adirondack Coast location offers breathtaking vistas. Prepare for an exciting visual experience as well. The park is located right on Westport’s Main Street, in the “hub of the hamlet.” Should the weather not cooperate for an outdoor performance, Westport’s Heritage House, conveniently located across the street, offers their indoor facilities. The Heritage House has an historic chapel area with phenomenal acoustics. Not a note will be missed while the audience stays dry.
Here is the series lineup for concerts this summer:
July 2nd - Alan Ferber Nonet
Nonet is considered one of the leading trombonists of his generation. The Wall Street Journal described his music as “somehow both old school and cutting edge.” His trombone style appeals across a wide variety of audiences. Jazzy fun is in store.
July 9th - Ray Vega and Tales From The Boogie Down
Ray Vega is another multi-talented artist. A trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, Vega is also a jazz educator and currently is Senior Lecturer at the University of Vermont. His knowledge is in demand as he conducts master classes in trumpet performance, jazz improvisation, brass performance techniques and afro-Caribbean jazz.
July 16th - Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz
With 5 critically acclaimed CDs and a Grammy Nomination for Best Jazz Vocal CD, Kate McGarry has become recognized as a jazz artist who brings authenticity and vitality to every song regardless of genre. The Wall Street Journal calls her "austere and elegant"; New York Times pronounced her music, "astute and sensitive". She will be joined by her husband, Keith Ganz, guitarist. Their live sets are known to move freely between jazz, folk, Brazilian and singer/songwriter genres.
July 23rd - Brandee Younger
Younger is a classically trained harpist, yet has received special recognition for her unique style of music. She currently resides in New York where she is in demand for performances. She also has a private teaching studio. Prepare to be enchanted.
July 30th - Kat Wright and The Indomitable Soul Band
This band is well known for their rhythm and blues and soul music. Based in Burlington, Vermont, these performers join Haskins in our collection of super-talented Champlain Valley artists. The band was formed in 2010 and since then they have toured around the northeast to receive acclaim and significant recognition. Wright has been described as “charismatic with a powerful voice.” This band has become a crowd favorite wherever they’ve performed.
August 6th - Joel Harrison & Spirit House
Harrison has long been recognized as a highly gifted guitarist, composer, arranger, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader. His music has been described as everything from chamber-jazz to fiery jazz-rock and has been noted to resist categorization; projecting a timeless style without boundaries.
August 13th - Jamie Baum Quartet
A New York City flutist, composer, and recording artist, Jamie Baum has toured the United States and over 28 countries. This group’s music is described as “traditional jazz with a twist,” and though jazz may be the primary focus, several projects have included a variety of other elements. We anxiously await this performance.
Obviously Westport will be the place to be on Thursday evenings throughout the summer. These concerts add an additional sparkle to this jewel of a summer resort town. Pick what may be your favorite concert (or several) and plan ahead. Those with motorized wheels will find easy access off I-87 or NYS Routes 9N and 22. Amtrak’s Adirondack Line makes daily stops from both north and south at the historic (and close by) Depot Theatre where you also may be able to catch a professional theatrical performance during your visit. Lake Champlain Bikeways passes right by Ballard Park in Westport if you are in the cycling mode, and Westport Marina is mere steps down the hill should you desire to arrive over water. Numerous dining and lodging options are readily available, but make your reservations early. Soundwaves concerts are becoming the hot summer topic. Pack a picnic blanket for comfort on the lawn. If you need further enticement, the concerts are FREE.