Nearly a year ago, the Seattle City of Music Initiative celebrated its first ever annual Awards event, and yours truly got her start at SSG by writing about said event. A lot has changed in a year, and even though the City of Music Awards stayed true to its focus of “celebrating and drawing attention to Seattle’s vibrant music community,” my perspective of the spectacle was entirely different as a more active member of the music scene.
Rizz Rollins of KEXP served as emcee once again, and he got the evening off on the right foot by emphasizing the importance of each person in attendance, encouraging everyone to talk to their neighbors and hear their stories. The Awards night, held at the Showbox at the Market, was free to the public and “sold out” a couple weeks ago, and there were indeed many unfamiliar faces in the audience. There wasn’t a hipster or college kid in sight, which might seem odd for a venue that is normally full of them on a Wednesday night, but given the candlelit tables that lined the floor of the Showbox, it made more sense to see a more mature crowd.
This year’s ceremony started off by honoring Clarence Acox, jazz conductor at Garfield High School, and his Roosevelt High School counterpart Scott Brown with Impact Awards for their work with student jazz groups. Gerard Schwarz, director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, received the Outstanding Achievement Award, while the lovely singer Brandi Carlile earned the Breakthrough Award, which she accepted via a pre-recorded live video performance. In between speeches, there were also short, live musical performances by Garfield and Roosevelt High All-Star Jazz bands, Northern Departure, and More Music @ The Moore.
If my rundown of the evening sounds dry, then it accurately reflects the way I took in the events as both a spectator and active member of the music community. Granted, it was refreshing to see genres other than grunge and indie rock being recognized, especially since Seattle has such a rich jazz history music that doesn’t seem as dominant as it should be. At the same time, last year’s Awards night represented a wider range of Seattle’s music scene, by honoring the Fleet Foxes and Quincy Jones, and featuring performances by The Maldives and Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, just to name a few. This year’s ceremony at times felt like it should have been re-named the “Seattle City of Jazz,” given its seemingly lop-sided focus in terms of honorees and performers.
Perhaps the one thing that should be more emphasized about the City of Music Awards night is its significance as the kickoff for the City of Music Festival, which occurs throughout the remainder of the month and includes events such as this weekend’s Reverb Festival, Earshot Jazz Festival, and the highly anticipated City Arts Festival. A full lineup of the City of Music Festival is listed below; don’t miss out in taking part in our city’s vibrant music scene.
City of Music Festival Lineup 2010
City of Music Award and Festival Kickoff – October 6, 2010
The Grammy MusicTech Summit – October 7-8, 2010
Seattle Weekly’s Reverb Local Music Festival – October 9, 2010
Seattle Hip-Hop Career and Business Expo – October 9, 2010
Run Vera Run 10K Run and 4K Walk/Fun-Run – October 10, 2010
Earshot Jazz Festival – October 15 – November 7, 2010
Arts Crush Music Week – October 10-16, 2010
City Arts Festival – October 20-23, 2010
Sister City Showcase; Reykjavik Calling – November 5, 2010