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Whyte brings blues to Estacada

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY JIM DOROTHY  - Ellen Whyte, who will be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame on Oct. 10, is bringing a big concert to Estacada.

Ellen Whyte has made a big name for herself as a blues musician and composer, but now she’s taking on an entirely new role as impresario, organizing concerts and shows in the Portland area and her next concert will be this month in Estacada.

The concert will feature Ivie-Meziere-Foss Trio, Mary Flower and Norman Sylvester. These luminaries will be joined by Estacada High School students Sarah Irelan, Donna Settje and band Initial Limit (Jonathan Brogan, Jakob Gabbard and Leia Berkley).

Whyte herself won’t perform at the Estacada concert.

“We are so lucky to have this incredible line-up come to Estacada. They are nationally-known, amazing musicians. We are so fortunate that Ellen has chosen the Estacada Auditorium as a venue for them,” said Jane Reid, a member of both the Estacada Areas Arts Commission and Estacada Together. “This is a rare opportunity to hear all three of them at one time.”

The concert is from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at Estacada Middle School, 500 N.E. Main St.

Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults, $7 seniors/students, $30 for families of four and free for children 5 years old and younger.

ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - This will be Ellen Whyte's third year as an artist in residence with Estacada seventh- and eighth-graders.

Whyte has tried out her new concert promoter skills with two concerts in Portland, but, she’s most excited about bringing great music to areas that don’t have as much top notch, live music.

“I want to bring music out to the communities,” she said.

She’s also trying a late afternoon concert because she knows many people don’t want to be up listening to music in the wee hours.

“There are people we would never see in a club at 11 p.m.,” she said. “Why not bring these accomplished musicians in front of new audiences?”

She’s familiar with Estacada because she has worked with students here for several years. This will be her third year as an artist in residence in with Estacada seventh- and eighth-graders.

“Estacada has been wildly supportive of my work,” she said. “So I decided, let’s try it here.”

Whyte grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but has made Oregon her home for 38 years and started her music career here.

She’s been nominated for three Grammy Awards and has released seven albums. She will be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame on Oct. 10.

Estacada is sort of a testing ground for Whyte’s new role as concert promoter.

“If this works, I’ll do it all over,” she said.