Get ready, music lovers … the PAC is back! | Arts and entertainment



For the first time in 16 months, live music will fill the halls of the Newport Performing Arts Center (PAC) on its grand reopening after the COVID pandemic temporarily closed the venue.

Mike Wofford and Holly Hofmann, another married duo from San Diego, will perform in an afternoon concert for the Oregon Coast Jazz Party on Sunday, July 18.

This concert features music from the Great American Songbook, including works by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as an alto flute homage to the great Antonio Carlos Jobim.

While recognizing that jazz can be intimidating to some people, Hofmann assures even concert newbies that they will know and enjoy their music selections.

“Jazz is our classic art form in the USA,” says Hofmann. “It’s the music America is famous for. We play American classical jazz that is accessible to everyone. “

Known internationally as one of the leading flutists in jazz since the late 1980s, Hofmann was also music director of the Oregon Coast Jazz Party for 13 years. Although she retired from that position in 2018, she loves returning to Newport to perform.

“The PAC has been closed for so long because of the pandemic, and this year’s event seemed like the right time to come back again,” Hofmann said. “And it’s always nice to come back to Newport. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into the jazz party and want it to flourish and go on. “

Her husband Wofford is a world famous jazz pianist, probably best known for his work as accompanist and musical director of two of the greatest singers of the last century, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. He has also recorded and performed with jazz legends such as Stan Getz, Quincy Jones and Chet Baker. In addition to jazz greats, he worked with superstars such as John Lennon, Cher and Donna Summer.

Hofmann and Wofford have performed nearly two dozen times at the PAC in the past, but Hofmann said this particular performance has special significance as it is their first out-of-state performance since a New Zealand tour in 2019.

As with most musicians, their lifeblood for gigs and tours has been completely cut off in the last 15 months. Musicians suffered, as did the venues.

“Our coastal area depends on people coming out and supporting the PAC,” she said.

The 17th Oregon Coast Jazz Party will be a two-day event taking place October 1st and 2nd. The line-up has not yet been announced, but according to OCCA board president Randy Madnick, 15 individual artists have been selected to participate.

“We invite individual musicians, not bands, and then mix them up in groups,” said Madnick. “These talented musicians who have never played together make great sounds. It’s never the same twice. “

Since its inception in 2003 when the event was called Jazz at Newport, the Oregon Coast Jazz Party has grown to be a popular and profitable event in Newport. Hundreds of music fans have flocked to Newport over the past few years to enjoy the variety of music in different locations around the city.

Madnick said this year’s party will be a shorter event – going from three days to two days, no nightcap sets, and no venues in town other than the PAC. But he emphasized that there will be no shortage of amazing talent, a variety of sessions, and great times for participants.

Jason Holland, executive director of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA), has only been in his position a few months but is ready to fill in at the benefit concert.

“We are very happy to welcome the community back to the PAC,” said Holland. “This is a great opportunity for people to get back into performing live.”

Holland, who said he was drawn to the Newport job because of its thriving arts scene, believes even more people will be in the arts after they were evicted during the lockdown.

“I think we all missed that skill,” said Holland. “We need these sensory experiences that we make out of theater and live music.”

Although not mandatory, seats for the benefit concert will be reduced. “We want attendees to feel comfortable, so we’ve built that into the seating arrangement,” said Holland. “We just want to take this first step easily.”

In this first step on July 18th, the stage lights are switched on, the sound system is turned up and music fills the air in the PAC. It took a long time.

“I can’t wait to hear the first applause,” said Holland. “I think it’s going to be a very emotional moment.”

There are still places available for the benefit concert. Tickets start at $ 25 and are available online at


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