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Renowned singer coming to Estacada

Rebecca Kilgore fronts trio performing American 'songbook' jazz on Feb. 11
by:  Rebecca Kilgore was recently inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

In the second event of the season for Estacada Together, vocalist Rebecca Kilgore comes to town Saturday, Feb. 11.

Kilgore moved to Portland in 1979 and quickly got involved with her first band, Wholly Cats, playing swing musc.

'There was no turning back for me; I gave up my day job,' she said.

That band eventually broke up, so Kilgore bounced around between a few bands before going off on her own as a freelance jazz performer. As a singer, Kilgore performs all over the country as well as at international competitions and on cruises.

Wherever she is playing, however, the show always centers on jazz music from the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

'I've always loved that kind of music,' she said. 'I just love classic singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.'

Fortunately for Kilgore, that era is far from short on songs.

'I use the repertoire called the Great American Songbook to describe that era of music,' she said. 'The material is timeless and will last forever, so there are some songs that people will recognize, and there will be songs that are new to listeners.'

In addition to the countless songs contained in the 30-year span that Kilgore specializes in, she keeps an ear out for contemporary music. Unfortunately for those who listen only to contemporary music, though, you won't hear Kilgore perform those songs.

'I'm always learning new songs,' she said. 'I do pay attention to some more contemporary songwriters, but you'll never see me on 'American Idol.' '

While Kilgore clearly doesn't have any plans to break into the mainstream reality television scene, her career has already featured a number of notable accomplishments.

Kilgore was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2010 and has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City. Among the musicians she's performed with are Michael Feinstein and a local singer, Nancy King, of whom she is extremely fond.

Throughout her career, Kilgore has released 30 recordings and has performed as far away as Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy.

During her performance in Estacada, Kilgore will be accompanied by Steve Christofferson on piano and Tom Wakeling on bass. Wakeling is chairman of the music department at Clackamas Community College.

'I'm really looking forward to this performance,' Kilgore said. 'It's usually great to come to rural areas because in big cities people can sometimes be jaded, whereas rural areas are much more appreciative.

'In my performances, I like to educate the audience a little bit as well with a little about who wrote the song and who recorded it.'

The event was planned around Valentine's Day as a way to provide local couples the perfect date night.

'We like to provide a variety of cultural performances for the Estacada community,' said Mary Ann Bugni of Estacada Together. 'So we enjoy providing music as well as plays, and this was a wonderful opportunity for us to provide something that is jazz-oriented for people interested in a date night or just doing something fun.'