Craig Buhler will perform at Olympic Theatre Arts on Saturday.

Craig Buhler will perform at Olympic Theatre Arts on Saturday.

Craig Buhler leads tribute to jazz musician Pete Fountain

SEQUIM — Olympic Theatre Arts will host concerts remembering the music of Pete Fountain on the Caldwell Main Stage this weekend.

The concerts will be at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Olympic Theatre Arts (OTA) at 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Reserved seating tickets are $20 each for the general public, $15 for students, and available online at olympictheatrearts.org/OTA at the theater box office, or at the door, if available.

Playing will be group leader Craig Buhler on clarinet, Chris Lee on vibraphone, Al Harris on piano, Ted Enderle on bass and Angie Tabor on drums.

From the first moment the diamond needle touched the grooves on the LP, Buhler — then 12 years old — fell in love with the New Orleans clarinet of Fountain. Buhler’s melodies are due in part to his intense study of those early Fountain LPs.

Born with a serious visual disability, Buhler was excluded from Little League. To compensate, he joined Richard Watts’ seventh-grade school band. He said he quickly realized he had found a “team sport” in which he could finally excel.

“My father took me to hear Pete Fountain in person at the Hollywood Bowl soon after I joined my first teenage band at the age of 14,” Buhler siad.

“To this day, I have no idea how Dad managed to finagle backstage passes for us, but I was awestruck when the master walked up and shook my hand.”

Buhler described Fountain’s work as creating a “rich, woody sound which catapulted New Orleans jazz from a local Louisiana curiosity into a world-wide phenomenon. He never struggled to be ‘current’ or ‘hip,’ because his music was timeless. Rediscovering these records several decades later, I am amazed the music still sounds fresh and vital.”

Fountian died in 2016 at the age of 86, leaving his wife, Beverly, after 65 years of marriage.

“But his music will live on for generations,” Buhler said. “Please join us as we celebrate the life of this American musical giant.”

OTA’s box office is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays. The phone number is 360-683-7326.

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