Vagabond Opera brings vaudeville to Brookings

By The Curry Coastal Pilot June 15, 2013 12:58 pm

Portland’s own bohemian gypsy cabaret ensemble Vagabond Opera is bringing its rip-roaring brand of contemporary vaudeville to Brookings’ Azalea Park on Sunday, June 16.

The free outdoor concert, presented by Rogue Federal Credit Union and the American Music Festival, starts at 1 p.m. at the bandshell.  A donation bucket will be passed around to help defray costs.

The six-piece ensemble, blending Eastern and Western European music styles, plays a combination of cabaret, burlesque, tango, Balkan beats, Klezmer, rock, Arabian music, Parisian hot jazz and a touch of opera.

The band features four singers (two operatically trained), two cellos, saxophone, clarinet, accordion, double bass and drums. They are known to perform songs in at least seven languages and perform in costumes, often accompanied by cabaret and belly dancers. They blend genre-defying original tunes with covers made famous by such artists as Jacques Brel, Tom Waits, Raymond Scott and Edith Piaf.

Seating for the concerts is on the lawn in front of the bandshell and the audience is welcome to bring chairs and blankets along with a picnic lunch. No alcohol is permitted in the park. Dogs are welcome on a leash. 

The Brookings Harbor Interact Club, a member of the Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor, operates the Snack Shack for all the concerts.

In case of bad weather, the concert will move indoors to the nearby Chetco Grange Community Center, on the corner of Highway 101 and Zimmerman Lane in Harbor.

Sunday’s concert is the second of seven concerts planned through September. Remaining concerts for the summer include:

•June 30: Cee Cee James Band, known as a “vocal tornado”; singer Cee Cee and her bandmates perform powerful old-school blues.

•July 14: Oregon Coast Lab Band. A returning favorite, this student band and jazz organization from Coos Bay/North Bend performs jazz and big band music.

•July 28: Sweet Town Little, a regional country band that has won accolades in competitions such as Southern Oregon Idol and the Colgate Country Showdown.

•Aug. 25: Joe Craven Trio, the San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalists play American folk, blues, New Orleans, swing, funk, as well as the music of Brazil, Haiti, Ireland, Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

•Sept. 15: Water Tower, a bluegrass band with three-part harmonies and a style that includes rock, blues, Cajun, folk and country. 

The primary sponsors and organizers are Rogue Federal Credit Union, the Brookings  Area Council for the Arts, the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the City of Brookings and the Curry Coastal Pilot.

For more information about the American Music Festival, contact Les Cohen at 541-661-3033.