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From Maxville to Vanport

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble presents “From Maxville to Vanport,” a multimedia concert of songs and short films with live music featuring vocalist Marilyn Keller as part of the 2022 Vanport Mosaic Festival Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24, 7:30 pm. The performance tells the story of two historic blue collar Oregon towns with a special focus on the African American Oregonians that made them unique.

With a joyful score of jazz, blues, R&B and gospel-inspired music with music by Ezra Weiss, text by Renee Mitchell, video by Kalimah Abioto and historical consultation by Gwendolyn Trice of Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center, the project celebrates lesser-known parts of Oregon’s history.

Maxville, a logging town built in 1923 in Wallowa County, and Vanport, built in 1942 just north of Portland for shipyard workers, were multicultural communities that housed workforces with significant African American and immigrant populations at a time when many Oregonians were openly hostile to them.

“From Maxville to Vanport” looks honestly at the prejudice these people faced and celebrates their resilience, courage and important contributions to Oregon. It tells stories of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the face of remarkable adversity; stories that deserve to be better understood by all Oregonians.

The performances take place at the Soul Restoration Center, 14 NE Killingsworth. Visit pjce.org to purchase tickets ($5-35).

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