Andy Cadiente, Ben Quick, Arnold Haube, Betty Marvin and Rick Hutseson

Do you know any of these people?  Did you know they knew how to play the guitar? – Half of these folks I did not recognize, the other half, well, I had no idea they played music!  Like where have I been?

Familiar faces in Southeast Alaskan towns is a given.  Depending on the town, some of us are related to everyone!  If you are a public figure head, then everyone knows or at least recognizes you, even if you are the town clown or the town drunk.   Then there are those of us who are independent and reclusive; few people remember our face – (now listen up people, I’m not necessarily referring to me!)

Andy Cadiente and Ben Quick

Sealaska Heritage Institute sponsored a Native Guitarist Jam on Monday, August 30th from 5-7pm at the Old Armory, now called the JACC (Juneau Arts and Culture Center).  The poster design caught my eye a couple of weeks before the event.  The poster had a Tlingit design by Preston Singletary on the front of the guitar.  (The colors of the poster and the concept of a Native design on a guitar reminded me of the poster that my Ex designed and silk-screened for an Archie Cavanaugh performance back in the 80’s.  In fact, Archie will be using this design concept for his second album to be released soon this Fall/Winter.)   The poster for this event too was quite striking and intriguing –  “Native Guitarist Jam?”  What’s that?  Huh? – On a Monday late afternoon?  Huh?

Just the event title alone was enough of an impetus let alone a Monday and a late afternoon?  Later, I figured that the event was accommodating to the Alaska Summit conference held next door at the Centennial Hall?  I’m not sure, I’m just guessing.

(Hey, how come it took an entire 2 weeks before this event was posted to this blog?  Cuz my laptop would not receive my photo disc because it said there was “an error” so I had to take it to Fred Meyers to get the photos onto a disc and just how often do I go to Fred Meyers?  And hey, I’m a busy girl, so there.  No more excuses.)

Cyril George plays a jazz riff

I first met Cyril George in Angoon when I was 16 on a Totem Center youth trip led by Gilbert Lucero back in the Fall of ’72.  I’ve known him in the context of Native leadership in culture and politics.  What a surprise: I had no idea he could play the guitar.

Andy Cadiente

And did I know the Cadiente family had another older brother – like where does he stand in the long line of service-oriented  Cadiente’s?

George Paul Gospel singers include his wife, Verna with back up from Ben Quick, Arnold Haube and Betty Marvin

Betty Marvin explained to the audience that the group had only practiced together 3 times before this public performance.  Even as modest a venue and crowd, they were brave to share their music.

Arnold Haube and Betty Marvin

An appreciative audience

Matriarch Irene Cadiente and some members of her family

An estimate of 150 folks showed up for this first-time event.  Rosita Worl, Executive Director for the sponsoring organization Sealaska Heritage Institute, would like to make this an annual event, and include other Native musicians locally, regionally and nationwide.  Well, you just never know.  I remember how the Alaska Folks Festival got started back in 1974 at the Alaska State Museum; it was a one-night, 2-hour gig with about 8 local acts.  My Ex and I were one of the acts.  So ya just never know how big something may get; if you have a strong personality with a strong vision who is organized and who can gather up a bunch of volunteers, that’s all it takes to expand.  Rosita has it all.

Rosita Worl, Executive Director of Sealaska Heritage Institute thanks all the guitarists

Many thanks to Rosita and her staff at the Sealaska Heritage Institute for introducing these closet musicians to this community.  I feel it’s just the beginning!