Get ready to rock the hill at Salmon Jam

Music headliner The Dan Mac Band is back

The Dan Mac band, featuring vocalist John “Pypes” Teamer. From left, Teamer, Dan McElrath, guest musician Cameron Cartland, and guest musician, Dirk Westfall. Photo courtesy of Pauli Hall at Halibut Cove

Cordova! Are you ready to rock the hill?

Once again, July marks the time when Cordovans and visitors alike make their way to the ski hill area to enjoy 14 hours of great music, plus local artisan market vendors, delicious local salmon fare, and educational activities centered around our salmon!

Salmon Jam, an event for the entire family, is happening this year on July 12-13. This year’s beer garden features beers from the Last Frontier Alaskan Brewing Company

The Dan Mac Band from Anchorage is the music headliner. The Dan Mac Band did a Stevie Wonder Tribute concert this past December at the Cordova Center, a concert was brought to us by Salmon Jam.

That’s right, Salmon Jam raises money to offset the costs for your local arts council, Cordova Arts & Pageants, to bring in artists from all over the state, country and world. The entire community benefits from experiencing these artists both in our schools and in our intimate theater space. This past year we hosted performers from Alaska, Oregon, Texas, Ireland, Africa and Canada.

The Dan Mac Band features Air Force Band musicians, as well as musicians known in the Alaskan music scene. They have performed everything from original jazz, to Celtic jazz, to big band music, to classic rock, Stevie Wonder and everything in between. Band vocalist John “Pypes” Teamer, trumpetist Ted Stearns and bassist Dirk Westfall were in the Air Force Band of the Pacific. Drummer Cameron Cartland studied percussion art Berkeley School of Music and Brazilian percussion in Brazil. John Damberg and Dan Mac both have music degrees, are composers, and have been music educators. Damberg is still very active as a percussion adjunct at UAA and director of the Alaska Jazz Workshop, a non-profit of his creation. Ira Sellers has been playing guitar his entire life and is still one of the most active regularly performing artists in Alaska, as a guitarist, vocalist and keyboard player. Saxophonist Jacque Annandale is a regular performer on the Anchorage music scenes and with the Anchorage Symphony. Check out more at: reverbnatioon.com/danmcelrath

Salmon Jam is also the venue for our local talented musicians to shine. Returning this year are perennial favorites like fisher poet Steve Schoonmaker, Annie Carlson, and the rockin’ band Insider, which will open for the Dan Mac Band on Friday night.

Opening up Saturday night will be Kaloku Holt with the Ke Kekui Foundation, which has performed the last two years. This year they’ll be adding in a Fire Dance.

New to the stage are Emily Love, Grace Martin, Caroline Pond and Tommy Dahill. Keep checking updates on the line-up on our website and Facebook page. There are still a few sets left. If you’d like to play this year, contact Alyssa Kleissler at 907-253-3633.

If the evening stage is too daunting, consider Open Mic time 1-3 p.m. Saturday during the Small Fry activities.

Other options include free music clinics 3-5 p.m. Saturday at the high school.

The Dan Mac Band will offer workshops in percussion, bass, keyboard, vocals and horns. Each workshop will work on the same song for the first hour, with participants coming together for the second hour to jam out the song together. Participants will have the opportunity to perform the piece together on the Salmon Jam stage. Workshops are geared toward intermediate and advanced musicians, although beginners are welcome.

The Salmon Jam is powered by volunteers. Cordova Arts & Pageants is an all-volunteer board dedicated to bringing the best art experiences year-round to our community. We do it for the love of art! Volunteer to set up the tent, sell tickets, beer or food, or help the festival in a  myriad of other ways, and get a discount on tickets, while knowing you’re doing your part in ensuring great art continues to reach our town. Remember, the spirit of Salmon Jam continues year-round with 100 percent of your ticket, beer and concession money invested in bringing great art to our remote town. For updates on the festival and to volunteer, visit salmonjam.org or follow us on Facebook: Copper River Salmon Jam!

Alyssa Kleissler has been a board member of Cordova Arts & Pageants for over 20 years and have been involved with the Salmon Jam since it began.