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Silverdale's alive with the sound of healing

Jazz/fusion guitarist Michael Powers is headlining the Care to Jazz Festival at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel. - Courtesy photo
Jazz/fusion guitarist Michael Powers is headlining the Care to Jazz Festival at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

By BILL MICKELSON

What's Up writer

For many, music is the great healer.

Sentimentally, listening to a comfortable collection of tunes can be a great stress reliever, while breaking into song can sometimes even help stave off depression. Experts suggest it's the rhythm and beat which give music its soothing power.

But sometimes it's even more literal.

Like the case of veteran journeyman jazz/fusion guitarist Michael Powers who's coming to Silverdale to headline the Care to Jazz Festival this weekend.

Powers picked up the guitar as a sort of form of physical therapy when he was just a teenager.

"The only reason I'm playing music today is because I fell off a skateboard and broke my wrist when I was just out of high school," Powers said. "I had it in a cast for so long that muscle in my forearm had atrophied."

Around that same time, he was introduced to Jimi Hendrix through a film documentary and, like many teenagers who first hear Hendrix, he wished he could play guitar like that.

"I talked to the doctor about it and he said that would be the best thing I could do to build up the muscle in my arm," Powers said of his desire to play six-string.

Thus began the healing process for Powers' broken wrist and his career.

The Hendrix influence led to Santana, which led to George Benson and eventually Powers' physical therapy spawned into a decades-long adventure which would find him sharing the stage with prestigious cats like Herbie Hancock, Gladys Knight, Ray Charles and even the infamous Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Powers fetes his journey thus far with his newest album "20 Songs for 20 Years." He'll play songs from that record while celebrating the connection between music and healing as he headlines this year's Care to Jazz festival, hosted by Peninsula Community Health Services (PCHS) July 11-12 at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.

It's his third time playing the seven-years-and-running Kitsap jazz festival. He'll be playing a special cabaret-style evening concert in the hotel ballroom at 8:30 p.m. July 12. While seven other local and regional jazz masters will be performing throughout the day starting at 11 a.m., counting it off for affordable health care.

"With the health care crisis in the country, anybody who's trying to help out that situation and make the system work better, I'm happy to help out," Powers said.

What started as a fund-raising banquet for PCHS has turned into a festival — "two days of great jazz for a great cause" — that raises money for the Dr. Edwin Tegenfeldt Patient Care Fund, helping provide ancillary services for patients who have trouble footing the bill.

"All dollars raised in the event benefit that patient care fund, but at the same time it's also growing a wonderful venue for jazz lovers in our community, in our own backyard," PCHS organizer Deborah Horn said.

This year's event, in a change of location, will feature an esteemed lineup of local talent on the back lawn of the Silverdale Beach Hotel from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 12, including local stalwarts the No Inhibitions Jazz Band, a jam session with Olympic College jazz faculty, Bill Ramsay and friends and pianist Deems Tsutakawa.

Then, later that evening the sultry Karen Shivers will give a wine and cheese show at 6:30 p.m., followed by Powers at 8:30 p.m.

There are different costs for each concert, "something for everyone," Horn said — $15 for the back lawn, $25 for Shivers and $30 for Powers.

The night before, there'll be a $50-a-plate dinner and auction featuring emcee The Great Cris Larsen and music from the Don Alverson Trio and the Jazz Ambassadors.

For tickets or more info on Care to Jazz, visit www.pchsweb.org or call (360) 478-2366.

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