Enjoy a picnic and a concert
Brethren of a common community can unite before the sun sets on an international symbol of peace this Saturday, July 24 for the Sculptures Sunsets and Serenades concert at Blaine Marine Park from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The free concert is sponsored by the U.S. Canada Peace Anniversary Association, a privately funded, nonprofit organization founded in 1995 and passionately dedicated to peace education and the history of the Peace Arch.
County residents and tourists alike can enjoy a walk through the Peace Arch Park earlier in the day to observe the International Sculpture Exhibition before heading down to the park to enjoy the concert’s marches and melodies amidst the setting sun.
The North Cascades Concert Band will set up along the Marine Park boardwalk with the Peace Arch – a 67-foot high concrete and reinforced steel constructed symbol of peace - looming in the background while concert goers are encouraged to bring a picnic and blanket to enjoy the evening. The 50-plus member band, comprised of talented and experienced musicians from every northwest county between Bellevue and Blaine, will perform a series of Sousa marches, pop tunes, and “light park entertainment” under the direction of Lylburn Layer of Mercer Island.
This year’s concert includes a special feature – the premier performance of Blaine resident Christina Alexander’s “Children of a Common Mother.” Alexander is president of the U.S. Canada Peace Anniversary Association and said she wrote the song to reflect her personal feelings for the Peace Arch and what it literally stands for. When the USCPAA was founded to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Peace Arch in 1995 “we learned of the treasure trove we have here and there just wasn’t enough education or promotion about the Peace Arch Park,” she said. “The world … people need to see and acknowledge the good in our world.”
Alexander revealed the pop version of her passionate song at last year’s event and again this month in Barcelona, but Saturday’s version “will stretch the song’s appeal a little,” she said, explaining the piece has been arranged by composer Victor Veldcamp, who created melody lines for each instrumental part. And after three days of rehearsals, the concert arrangement will be performed with Alexander singing the lyric accompaniment together for the first time.
Marjorie Reichhardt of Blaine, an alto clarinet player in the band for the past nine years, said Saturday’s concert will be “a traditional, laid back, fun thing to do.” The concert band features a number of high school band teachers as well as “people from all walks of life,” she said, adding, “it has included local high school band members in the past.”