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SW Portland Community Band presents 'Blues, Brews and BBQ' at Multnomah Arts Center

Wilson High School Band Director Nick Caldwell.Nick Caldwell likes his job at Wilson High School working with student musicians as band director.

He also likes his job directing the Southwest Portland Community Band at "Blues, Brews and BBQ," its semi-annual concert this Sunday evening June 2 at the Multnomah Arts Center.

The band has been around for four years and is made up of 35 to 40 musicians playing a dozen different instruments. Among the musicians are Wilson parents, friends, community members and a few Wilson students. Many of the mature band members played in high school or college then gave up music when "they had kids and got real jobs," according to Caldwell. The youngest member is a freshman at Wilson,the oldest is 65.

"Many haven't played since high school or college," he said. "The horns have been sitting under the beds for 20 or 30 years. So just seeing them when they first get their horn out and they play that first note…and how their eyes light up and they say, 'Oh my God, I remember that,' as the music comes back to them is just awesome.

"I like leading this band as much as my actual job at Wilson as band director because these musicians all want to be there. They're volunteering their time and they're very passionate about it."

The show Sunday night at the Multnomah Arts Center is free and "family-friendly." The set list features American classical music – jazz and the blues -from Porgy and Bess to the Blues Brothers with some Ray Charles thrown in. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Food and drink will be available - BBQ and beer from Von Ebert Brewing. (Cash only.)

Anyone who's ever cringed at the sound quality in the Wilson High School Auditorium will be glad to know that "Blues, Brews and BBQ" is a benefit to raise funds to fix that.

"The auditorium is really outdated. The sound in there is pretty atrocious, it sounds like a gloomy echo chamber. So we want to get some sound panels that will help make the sound a little better," Caldwell said.

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