(Continued from Home...) representatives of PHAN, Russell and Hazelwood Neighborhood Associations to plan this mega-event.

“This is the first time we’ve gone into East Portland and we’re really excited about it,” said Anne Stevenson, artistic operations coordinator for the Oregon Symphony.

How was Knott Park, a small strip of land once abandoned by Multnomah County as too costly to maintain, chosen to host a classical performance by the Oregon Symphony?

“We work with the Regional Arts Cultural Council and the city of Portland, and we try to go in what is termed an underserved area,” Stevenson explained.  “We look at various targets of revitalization of the neighborhood through music. The other reason we do this is to draw neighborhoods together.”

Stevenson said a committee, representing area neighborhood associations, has worked together since late May to identify local amateur or professional artists and performers for the afternoon activities. “We try to get the flavor of the community,” she said.

“This committee of neighbors is one of the most involved and active committees we have ever worked with,” Stevenson said of the three neighborhood associations. “They come to meetings having researched things, they’ve helped us find local vendors so people don’t have to leave the park if they get hungry, and they’ve helped us come up with arts activities.”

 The event will feature neighborhood arts groups and performers in afternoon activities, according to Kristan Knapp, liaison with the local neighborhood associations. There will be artists doing demonstrations and hands-on art activities-possibly a clay table or mural painting and other activities.  Knapp is contacting ethnic communities in and around the mid-county areas using information submitted by the neighborhood committee.

Tentative performers will include a jazz quartet, a student ballet company from Metro Dancers, and Latino Dancers from David Douglas High School. “The performers will represent different communities that live in and around Parkrose,” Knapp said. She also is contacting area ethnic communities to see if artists want to display their art and talk to people about how they create it.

Although the concert is set for 7 p.m., the day’s activities will begin at 3 p.m. with tables and booths set up featuring neighborhood arts groups and entertainers. Some art activities will begin at 3 p.m., and stage performances will begin at 4 p.m.

Typically, an “Oregon Symphony in the Parks Concert” averages about 3,000 people, but as many as 5,000 have attended, according to Knapp.  As the concert date nears, posters and banners will adorn stores and streets reminding residents of the event. Flyers also will be mailed to area homes promoting three parks concerts.

Kenton Park, which will host a concert on Thursday, August 26 in North Portland, is the only other of two neighborhood concerts scheduled this year. The Symphony neighborhood concerts will be led by Resident Conductor Murry Sidlin. Music Director James DePreist will conduct the Tom McCall Waterfront Concert on Tuesday, August 30.

PHAN has overseen the transition of Knott Park from an overgrown field 20 years ago, to nice family park capable of attracting a classical concert.

Like many parks in mid-county, Multnomah County did not maintain Knott Park for a period of about 10 years prior to annexation by the city of Portland. During that time, volunteers, led by neighborhood activist Trudy Jones, sponsored carnivals, plant sales and other fund-raisers to pay for playground equipment and landscaping.

“We ended up making a lot of money toward the end,” Williams said.  “When the city took over they matched the funds.” A city sponsored parks bond measure, passed about six years ago, has kept the park looking nice since, with solid playground equipment and a jogging trail.

Appropriately, the little park will achieve a crescendo of its own when the Oregon Symphony plays.

 

Outdoor Audience enjoys music from Oregon Symphony at concert in Waterfront Park. Music Director James DePreist conducts here, but Resident Conductor Murry Sidlin will lead the concert at Knott Park in Northeast Portland.

 

Resident Conductor Murry Sidlin will conduct at Knotts Park concert.

 

Chien Tan, a principal second violinist with Oregon Symphony Orchestra, serenades young girl at previous “Oregon Symphony in the Neighborhoods Concert.”  Knott Park, at Northeast 112th and Sacramento, has been chosen as a site for the Oregon Symphony’s free concert on Aug. 19.