Fuca Festival fill-in for AWOL performer gets a standing ovation

PORT ANGELES — When saxophone-playing tap dancer Shoehorn Conley failed to appear at the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts for his Sunday afternoon slot, festival executive director Dan Maguire immediately found a nervous — but clear-voiced — replacement.

Julia Maguire, a singer, guitarist, student at Western Washington University and Dan’s daughter, stepped onto the Chamber Stage a few minutes after making a set list.

She proceeded to deliver a 90-minute set that included songs by Norah Jones (“Come Away with Me”) and Leonard Cohen (“Hallelujah”) alongside a slow “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (Lennon/McCartney).

And, when asked to do one more even after her time was up, John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.”

“Thank you for sticking around,” she told the audience after a bit.

“You sound great,” a woman shouted out.

Though Maguire’s hands shook, her voice glided through her material as though she’d done this a thousand times before. In fact, she’s just played Wine on the Waterfront a few times.

While taking her bow, she received a standing ovation.

Dan Maguire, meanwhile, said he had heard nothing from Conley, a Portland, Ore., performer who is well-known on the festival circuit.

Julia Maguire graduates from Western in June with a degree in American cultural studies; she said she hopes to come back to her home town of Port Angeles for another Wine on the Waterfront gig in July or August.

The Juan de Fuca Festival finishes up today with performances from 11:30 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.JFFA.org.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at [email protected]

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