Plea: Support the Creative Music Guild

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I’ve talked a lot on this blog about what the Creative Music Guild does year in, year out – and likely if you’re a regular visitor to this site, you are quite familiar with what what they are up to – so as much as you might not like to hear more about this organization and their goals, you’re going get a blog post-ful right now as we close out 2013.

Whether you realize it or not, we live in a city that a lot of international artists tend to skip over. Look at the tour schedule for big name acts from across the pond and they tend to move from Los Angeles to San Francisco and then (if we’re lucky) up to Seattle. Otherwise, they just head to the East Coast or home. The CMG is doing everything within their power to put a stop to that trend. Over the past 12 months alone, they’ve been able to bring Peter Brötzmann, Paal Nilssen-Love, Ken Vandermark, Ben Goldberg’s Unfold Ordinary Mind, and The Instant Composers Pool Orchestra to our city, as well as hosting twice-monthly events celebrating the local improvisational and experimental music scene. And, much to my delight, audiences for these concerts have been robust and enthusiastic. They are proving that Portland has a love for challenging sounds.

My plea to support the CMG comes from a bit of a selfish place: I really want them to bring more of these artists that I’ve been itching to see for years to me. They have to do all the hard work; we are the ones that benefit from it. So, I want everyone to crack open their piggy banks and PayPal accounts to fill their coffers and allow them to coax even more incredible talent to our city. 

Here’s how you can do just that:

Visit this page to make a one-time or recurring donation to the Creative Music Guild. All donations are tax-deductible and will help them continue their crucial work.

Grab a copy of this digital compilation featuring a murderer’s row of local talent: Rich Halley, Amenta Abioto, Catherine Lee, John Gross Trio, and more.


Or, if you don’t have much to spend – say $5 – purchase a copy of their newly released e-book Unfinished. Here’s a description of the publication from the folks who made it a reality:

Inspired by a riveting panel discussion with musicians and dance-makers on intersections between improvisation and composition at the 2013 Improvisation Summit of Portland, this book expands the conversation to fourteen world-renowned artists. Members of The Creative Music Guild designed a series of questions. The musicians and choreographers we interviewed are local Portlanders and nationally acclaimed artists from diverse genres connected with the Creative Music Guild’s mission to build community among experimental and interdisciplinary musicians, choreographers and performance artists. Participants were asked to “choose-their-own-adventure” in their responses, giving answers of any desired length to any number of the questions asked. 2013 Participants include: guitarist and improviser, Marisa Anderson; choreographers, Linda Austin and Tracy Broyles; improviser & composer, John Butcher; sound artist, Loren Chasse; as well as luminous world-class musicians, Ben Goldberg, John Gross, John Gruntfest, Buke and Gase, Catherine Lee, Tatsuya Nakatani and Nate Wooley.

Sounds downright inspiring to me.

There’s my humble little plea. I say it not to guilt you or force your hand in any way. I say it with the full knowledge that without an organization like the Creative Music Guild, this city would be a much less exciting place to call home. For that alone, they deserve if not our financial support, then at least our respect and admiration.


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