Alaska Summer Music Festival:

The festival occurs in early summer during the month of June with three sets of musicians. Each set of musicians plays roughly three concerts before a new set arrives taking over performing duties. This allows musicians to avoid having to set aside an entire month of their calendar to the festival and also allows them, if they choose to arrive early or stay later, to explore Sitka's splendor. All of the evening concerts occur at the breathtaking venue of Harrigan Centennial Hall, in downtown Sitka. While it is not an auditorium (in fact it's the main hall of a convention / civic center), its glass-panel backdrop reveals a clear view of Crescent Harbor, Eastern Channel and its assortment of small, tree-covered islands dotting its water, snow-capped mountains, and an occasional bald eagle swooping down from the sky.
Sitka Summer Music Festival:
Folk Festival | Music Festival | Summer Festival | Anchorage Festival
Fairbanks Association | Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival | Fairbanks Folk Festival

While most would think it implausible for a full-fledged classical music festival to survive in a community of just over 8,000, the Sitka Summer Music Festival has managed to beat the odds and persevere. Part of this is because of the unusually high awareness and interest of the arts in Sitka, but also because of a large number of summer tourists in town. In discussions with the musicians themselves, the attraction for the festival for them is the above-average audience enthusiasm and the beautiful surroundings of Sitka. It is thought by many as a "paid vacation" and these factors lead to an unusually high rate of return by musicians throughout the years.

The festival began in 1972 as an informal musical reunion of the students of Jascha Heifetz and Gregor Piatigorsky from the University of Southern California. Their concerts were a success and the "reunion" became an annual festival, growing larger throughout the years. The 2006 season will be the festival's 35th year. The heart of Sitka Sound blooms into a musical jewel this time of year, and for those lucky enough to be there for the occasion, it is a uniquely Alaska treat.

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