Washington’s national parks to become concert halls for ensemble

The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be just one of the venues where Music in the American Wild will perform free concerts in August.
The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be just one of the venues where Music in the American Wild will perform free concerts in August. jmayor@thenewstribune.com

Music in the American Wild will be giving free performances in August at Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic national parks as a part of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration. The group will also perform at San Juan Islands National Historic Park.

The ensemble of seven musicians will perform newly composed works inspired by national park locations throughout the country, according to a park news release. All the performers are affiliated with the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

In today’s digital world, flutist and director Emlyn Johnson said it’s easy to forget that for most of its history music has been inspired by the natural world.

“Whether that meant the imitation of birdsong or exploring man’s relationship with his surroundings,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are excited to celebrate and reconnect with the creative spark offered by our own backyard wilderness, and we hope to inspire audiences and other artists to connect with our national parks through creative acts.”

As they tour a number of the nation’s parks, in locations ranging from caves to mountaintops to indoor theaters, Johnson said the group tailors each acoustic concert to its venue so that listeners can hear and enjoy how the music interacts with the environment.

Other performance locations include Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains and Mammoth Caves national parks.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

Show schedule

San Juan Islands

Thursday: 2-4 p.m. Intermittent performances at English Camp parade grounds.

Friday: 10 a.m.-noon. Intermittent performances at American Camp parade grounds. 7:30 p.m. at the English Camp barracks.

North Cascades

Aug. 7: 7 p.m. at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

Aug. 8: 1 p.m. North Cascades Visitor Center and 7 p.m. at Newhalem Creek Campground amphitheater.

Aug. 10: 1 p.m. at the visitor center and 7 p.m. at the amphitheater.

Mount Rainier

Aug. 12: 7:30 p.m. at Ohanapecosh Campground amphitheater.

Aug. 13: 2 p.m. at Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise.

Aug. 14: 2 p.m. at Sunrise Visitor Center.

The park’s entrance fee still applies.


Aug. 15: Evening at Heart o’the Hills Campground.

Aug. 16: Afternoon at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.

Aug. 17: Afternoon at the Hoh Rainforest.

The exact times had not been set at press time. The shows are free with park admission. You can learn more about the group at musicintheamericanwild.com.