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Music Mondays

Arts plaza to host concerts beginning June 6
by: Contributed photo Northwest favorite John Bunzow set to perform on July 18.

Music Mondays, a free summer concert series, will return for the second year to the Center for the Arts Plaza in downtown Gresham with both afternoon and evening concerts.

The afternoon series takes place from noon to 1:30 p.m. beginning Monday, June 6, and continues every Monday until Aug. 29, except July 4.

The evening concerts, a new feature this year, run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays beginning July 11, at the plaza, located on Northeast Third Avenue between Hood and Kelly streets.

'We're especially hoping with the nighttime concerts that people will have time after work to enjoy dinner and relax downtown, and then come by to the plaza,' says Joan Albertson, treasurer of the Center for the Arts Foundation.

The scheduled performers are from throughout the Pacific Northwest. The musical genres range from rock, country and folk to classical, jazz, Hawaiian music and African music.

The goal, Albertson says, was to let people in the area be exposed to different types of music while providing a place for musicians to share their love of music.

The first three scheduled performers are Jeremy Tuell, The Band, a rock duo from Washougal, Wash., who met in high school; Wayne Richards and Southern Nights, a popular Northwest band described as being 'funny, up tempo, a little risqué and an all-around good time'; and Aram Arslanian, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who served as music director and guitarist for Lisa Marie Presley.

Later in the season, scheduled performers include longtime Pacific Northwest favorite John Bunzow on July 18; Boka Marimba, a 10-member band that plays upbeat, danceable music from Zimbabwe and other areas of southeastern Africa, on Aug. 8; Tara Williamson, singer for the Bureau of Standards Big Band, on Aug. 22; and Anne Weiss, known for her bluesy voice, signature guitar chops and poetic lyrics, who will perform with singer/songwriter Donny Wright on Aug. 29.

Albertson says concertgoers are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and a meal, either from home or from one of the nearby restaurants.

'If they want to dance, they're free to dance,' Albertson adds, noting that some bands - like the rhythm-heavy Boka Marimba - will make it difficult for attendees 'to stay still.'

For a complete schedule of performers, or for more information about the plaza, visit the foundation's website at gcfta.org or call 503-665-7800.

Other performers take the stage

For audiences looking for a different type of live performance, the foundation also is working with the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival to host a William Shakespeare-oriented summer camp for middle school students from Aug. 9-14. Details about the camp will be posted on the foundation's website.

Festival actors perform Shakespeare's plays just as his own actors would have done: in the open air with natural light, with minimal sets and with energetic acting and lots of audience participation, according to the group's website.

Albertson says the plaza will host performances from camp participants on Aug. 13 and from festival actors, who will perform 'Twelfth Night,' on Aug. 14.