A special performance of From Maxville to Vanport at the Central Branch of the Multnomah County Library, in the Collins Gallery, at the top of the grand staircase. This performance is supported by the Library Foundation, and is free to all! Come early to reserve a seat.
“Maxville to Vanport” is new multi-media concert of songs and video for the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble featuring vocalist Marilyn Keller that tells the story of two little-known Oregon towns and the diverse residents that made them unique. With music by Ezra Weiss, text by Renee Mitchell, video by Kalimah Abioto created in a community-guided process, we hope to shed more light on parts of Oregon’s history that deserve wider recognition.
About From Maxville to Vanport
Maxville, a logging town built in 1923 in Wallowa County, and Vanport, built in 1942 just north of Portland for shipyard workers, were multicultural communities that housed workforces with significant African American and immigrant populations at a time when many Oregonians were openly hostile to them. From Maxville to Vanport looks honestly at the prejudice these people faced and celebrates their resilience, courage, and important contributions to Oregon. It tells stories of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the face of remarkable adversity; stories that deserve to be better understood by all Oregonians.
“The hardship and joys of this period of Oregon’s history, as viewed through the eyes of its earliest Black citizens, informs the work of Weiss and Mitchell. The music is austere and stately, evoking the landscape of the eastern part of the state and the period when Portland was more spacious.” – Robert Ham, Portland Mercury, May 23, 2018