Steven Griggs performs Panama Hotel Jazz

Panama Hotel Jazz, left to right: Milo Petersen, Steve Griggs, Susan Pascal, Jay Thomas, Phil Sparks. Photo by Doris Kogan  © 2013
Panama Hotel Jazz, left to right: Milo Petersen, Steve Griggs, Susan Pascal, Jay Thomas, Phil Sparks. Photo by Doris Kogan © 2013.

Seattle saxophonist/composer/writer Steve Griggs received a 2013 Historic Site Specific Grant to create a program of music and narration for the Panama Hotel. Chamber Music America is helping extend the life of the project through a residency at the Seattle Public Library. We welcome Steve back to the blog.

Panama Hotel Jazz was my first major grant funded project. I was writing an article for Earshot Jazz about how to apply for grants and thought I should go through the process to get reportable experience. Meanwhile, the Historic Site(s) Specific Program helped me think about composing and performing from a different starting point and helped me think about my work in a bigger context. I learned so much about Seattle history, people in the International District, Japanese Americans in WWII, and presenting music outside of typical venues along the way.

The program was so well received that it earned an ASCAP/Chamber Music America award for Adventurous Programming, and Earshot Jazz underwrote performances for local high schools. The success in turn led me to seek new ways to extend the project.

I built a new program about a Seattle saxophonist’s struggle to build community through music, A Cup of Joe Brazil, and paired it with Panama Hotel Jazz under the theme Songs of Unsung Seattle. This combined program was awarded a grant through the Chamber Music America Residency Partnership Program with the Seattle Public Library.

From August through December, there are ten events for the residency at eight different library branches. A Cup of Joe Brazil premiered Sunday, August 10 at the Central Library.

Panama Hotel Jazz also won a National Park Service Japanese Confinement Sites Grant to present the program in the Seattle area over the next two years. I am searching for matching funds to implement this grant.

 

The next performances for this Jazz Residency with Seattle Public Library are August 17 & 24. Check out the complete schedule on the SPL website.