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Two jazz organizations explore the cultural, civic, and ecological history of Mt Tabor Park in Views of an Urban Volcano

(Portland, OR) — Montavilla Jazz and Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble are opening up a community-guided creative process to the public as three composers craft new music inspired by Mt. Tabor Park and the stories that surround it. Three public events for Views of an Urban Volcano will take place Sunday, March 5th at 2 pm Oregon Historical Society; Saturday, March 18th at 4 pm at Taborspace’s Copeland Commons; and Saturday, April 15th at 10:30 am at Mt. Tabor Park, inviting participants to learn more about Mt. Tabor’s history in relationship to marginalized communities past and present and its significance as a greenspace in the city.

Three composers that are currently being selected through panel review will attend each of these community events to build a shared understanding of this iconic park’s role in the city. Their new works for the 12-member Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) will be presented as part of the 2023 Montavilla Jazz Festival in a free, public concert at Mt. Tabor Park on September 1, 2023. The concert represents the culmination of 10 years of partnership between Montavilla Jazz and PJCE. Views of an Urban Volcano is presented in partnership with Friends of Mt. Tabor Park and the Oregon Historical Society with support from Oregon Cultural Trust and Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Community Event Details: 

  • Views of an Urban Volcano: A discussion on Mt. Tabor Park
    March 5th, 2023, 2–3:30 pm at Oregon Historical Society *FREE*
    1200 SW Park Ave. Portland, OR 97205
    (503) 222-1741
    Find more information and RSVP here.
    The event features a panel discussion on the history and impacts of Mt. Tabor Park from the perspectives of Portland’s Chinese, Black, and Indigenous communities from 1896–2020. Light refreshments will be available. 

Panelists include Hap Pritchard, Board Member, Friends of Mt. Tabor Park; David Harrelson, Cultural Resources Department manager and member of The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; Darrell Millner, Professor Emeritus of Black Studies at Portland State University; and Dr. Marie Wong, Professor Emerita, Seattle University Institute of Public Service, Asian Studies, and Public Affairs.

  • Views of an Urban Volcano: Community Forum
    March 18th, 2023, 4–5 pm at Taborspace’s Copeland Commons *FREE*
    5441 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215
    (503) 954-2610
    Find more information and RSVP here.
    An open forum for lovers of Mt. Tabor Park to share their own stories about its significance with the composers. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the selected composers and project leads, and contribute to the community-driven creative process.  
  • Views of an Urban Volcano: Guided Tour of Mt. Tabor Park
    April 15, 2023, at 10:30 am at Mt. Tabor Park Visitor Center *FREE*
    SE Salmon Way and, SE Park Dr, Portland, OR 97215 Map
    Find more information and RSVP here.
    Led by Friends of Mt Tabor Park, this 90-minute guided tour of the park will begin at the Mt. Tabor Visitor Center and highlight historical and cultural points of interest and the park’s impressive vistas. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their questions. 


March 5th Event Speaker Bios: 

David Harrelson is the Cultural Resources Department manager for The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde where he is also a tribal member.  David is active in his community and currently serves as an Oregon Arts Commissioner.  Working for over ten years in the field of Cultural Resources, David has championed the protection of archaeology sites, maintenance of ancestral lifeways, and proliferation of indigenous art forms throughout his Tribe’s homelands in Western Oregon.

Dr. Darrell Millner graduated in 1975 from the University of Oregon with a doctorate in Education and was then hired by Portland State University to teach Afro-American Literature and History in the Black Studies Department. Dr. Millner served as Department Chair of Black Studies from 1984-1995, and is currently Professor Emeritus and continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member in the department. He serves on numerous local, regional, and national boards and organizations. Dr. Millner is an expert on the history of African-Americans in the western movement with a special focus on the Oregon and California trail experiences, early Oregon and California black history, and the history of the Black Buffalo soldiers in the Indian wars.

Hap Pritchard and his wife moved to the Portland area in 2004 to be close to their two children and their grandchildren. The move coincided with his retirement from a career at the EPA and a final three-year stint at the Danish National Environmental Research Laboratory where he was a senior research fellow.

Dr. Marie Rose Wong is a Professor Emerita with the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University. Wong’s research investigates urban planning and policy, housing, and land use with a focus on Asian American settlements.  Her presentations and publications center on Asian American history and urban development that include several articles, a book on Portland, Oregon’s first Chinese communities entitled Sweet Cakes, Long Journey: The Chinatowns of Portland, Oregon (2004, 2012), and the history of Seattle’s Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino settlement entitled Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels (2018). She is currently working on book projects that chronicle the histories of Seattle’s Japanese American community baseball, and Seattle’s Luck Ngi Chinese Music Club.

About Montavilla Jazz: Montavilla Jazz is a nonprofit community organization that engages an inclusive cross-section of musicians, collaborative artists, students, music lovers, neighbors, and businesses, promoting forward-thinking artistry and offering platforms for risk-taking, experimentation, and the creation of new works, adding to the diversity and strength of our community.

About PJCE: Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create original jazz music that engages and supports our community’s diverse artists, cultures, and place. In operation since 2008, PJCE is the only organization dedicated to commissioning and performing original music by Portland musicians, building a broad audience through unique, collaborative and community-oriented programming that builds bridges between communities in this vibrant city.