P1010021The poster had gone to print at Capital Copy.  Laura had designed the poster and in a text message to her good friend Liesel she asked, “What should we call our concert?”  Liesel’s quick wit and local insight delivered the perfect hook.  “I Wish It Was Summer Concert”….at this definitive poster title….locals laughed and agreed.

We were excited to host a joint Southeast Alaska concert tour with New Mexico’s Triple L Band. A year previous, at Triple L’s assent, we explored possible venues and supporting arts councils throughout Southeast Alaska.  Alaska String Band and Triple L Band’s first encounter was at a bluegrass festival in Duncan, Oklahoma. Our paths continued to cross on occasion at various festivals in the lower 48.

The Triple L Band began singing and playing music twelve years ago in their hometown of Portales, New Mexico.  Triple L represents the three brothers, Lance, Landon and Levi, who are sons of Len and Amy Miller. homephotoTriple L’s style of traditional bluegrass with tight family harmony and excellent instrumentation both challenged and inspired us.

In early August they arrived on Alaska Airlines, ready for adventure. So we set out… ferryOn board the Matanuska ferry we traveled the Alaska Marine Highway to our first concert destination.  Petersburg, like Juneau, is also remote and can be reached only by water or air.  The population of full time residents is around 2,800.  Petersburg was named after Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant. Buschmann built a sawmill, docks and a cannery and Petersburg flourished as a fishing port.  People of Scandinavian origin came to Petersburg and settled into a prosperous life of fishing. Today it is known by the nickname “Little Norway”. DSCF0884Levi keeps a healthy distance and surveys sea lions on the dock. DSCF0889Michelle Pfundt, a former member of the Petersburg Arts Council, was our host for the weekend.  Like his father before him, Michelle’s husband is a successful fisherman.  The Pfundt family welcomed us to their ocean view home where we were treated to a marvelous halibut dinner.  Both organized and thorough, Michelle provided us with great accommodations and plenty of opportunities to play music for the community.  On the clip board of fun was an evening community concert followed by a day of music workshops.  A potluck dinner and New England style contra dance led by one of Juneau’s favorite dance callers, Odette Edgar, brought the weekend to a festive conclusion.   Amy with Triple L boys lead a music workshop.293112_233938426728775_590325796_n484636_233938310062120_1607188430_n417194_233937540062197_1116612530_n549571_233937813395503_568700234_nA little sight seeing for Quinn and Amy.quinn and amy in truckBack on board the ferry we motored north, passing Eldred Rock in Lynn Canal.  28 Eldred Rock 2Our destination, Haines, is one of only three towns in Southeast Alaska which can be accessed by road. 01 Cruiseship at DockHaines is connected to the North American highway system, but one must pass through British Columbia and Yukon Territory, Canada to access the Alaska Highway.70 Haines Hwy Scenic

St. Elias Mountains10 St. Elias MtsEach July Haines is host to the Southeast Alaska State Fair. The Alaska String Band has played music at the fair in summers past. Pig races are one of the more amusing events. Rides, arts, crafts, produce, flowers and baked goods exhibits are all found there.  Also of interest the fair grounds incorporate a portion of the set from Walt Disney’s movie White Fang which was filmed in Haines in 1990.63 Strawberries in panAnother annual event which our band has provided entertainment for is the week long Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.q's phone november 03073834_1449037310589_2682437_nSome of the events include photography workshops, live raptor presentations, guest speakers, artist of the year demonstrations and music entertainment. 76360_1449036390566_4055774_nDaily buses transport visitors from around the world to the Alaska Bald Eagle Preserve to witness the annual gathering of eagles. 100_9153_00From September through February over 3,500 bald eagles converge on the beautiful Chilkat River Valley. The Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve was established to protect and perpetuate the world’s largest concentration of Bald Eagles and their critical habitat. Natural salmon runs are also sustained and protected there.77Dave Olerud, founder of the American Bald Eagle Foundation, has been a wonderful host and passionately shares his love of Alaskan wildlife.  As a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in education, Dave and his wife Charlotte came to Alaska in 1964 to teach. In subsequent years he has served his community in varied ways such as the Mayor of Haines, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Independent Business Association for Alaska. During the early construction phase of the American Bald Eagle Foundation’s natural history museum, a collapsing wall fell on Dave, crushing his back and paralyzing him from the waist down. Undaunted, Dave’s spirit is evident as he spends nearly forty hours per week in the museum offering insightful presentations to thousands of visitors.100_4331It was at the Bald Eagle Festival that we chanced to meet Haines musician Dave Nanney.  A dedicated and accomplished artist in many mediums, Dave is one of those valuable people who come along side to encourage and inspire developing artists.  At Dave’s persuasion we were successful in contracting with the Haines Arts Council to give a concert in the Chilkat Center for the Arts.  Dave graciously welcomed us to stay in his beautiful historic bed and breakfast located in Fort Seward, just a stone’s throw from the Chilkat Center. port chilkootFort William H. Seward, a United States Army installation, was constructed south of Haines in 1904.  The fort was renamed Chilkoot Barracks in 1922.  It was the only U.S. Army post in Alaska before World War II.  During World War II it was used as a supply point for U.S. Army activities.  In 1946 Chilkoot Barracks was deactivated and sold as surplus property to a group of investors who called it Port Chilkoot.   Today Fort Seward is a nationally recognized historic site where a number of privately owned barracks, officer housing, and parade grounds are maintained.  Some of these structures are open to the public as businesses and restaurants.  03 Picture Point ScenicWhile Quinn and Laura were still quite young Paul and Melissa spent a number of weeks living in one of the historic homes of Fort Seward while Paul helped to build the care taker’s cabin for the Alaska State Park bald eagle preserve.

This Alaskan native Tlingit tribal house rests at the edge of the Fort Seward parade grounds.  14 Tlingit HouseTotem raising 2Chilkat DancersEAGLEWELChilkat DancerA little advertising for the concert.advertisments on the dockTriple L Band visits the Haines public radio station giving an interview for the evening performance.418606_237330436389574_1369477554_n298822_237330383056246_1325146290_nHaines radio show host.574907_237330146389603_1222912994_nSetting up for the evening performance.557430_237330063056278_236459960_n527144_3668819163748_2074664418_n580118_3668897965718_2020511333_n

The Haines Arts Council hosted a scrumptious Alaskan pre-concert pot luck.  And Dave Nanney filmed the evenings entertainment, generously sharing some great photo memories.  The fun continued into the wee hours as local musicians invited us to a jam session.    377358_3681078310219_2047351936_n547265_3668785922917_630937494_n547265_3668786082921_1681530550_n422503_3672340171771_889970887_n293085_3668796923192_1464916924_n422503_3672340051768_1451186558_n255311_3672662859838_1839358159_n  Visit this link to watch and listen to a brief sample video from our performance in Haines.

On a previous visit to Haines while driving up the Chilkat River Valley Laura tuned in the radio in search of the weather forecast.  The weather man announced, “One hundred percent chance of rain for the rest of the week…..well, actually…for the rest of the year.”  It was an amusing and dreadfully accurate forecast.  Haines is known for extremely heavy snow fall and in the 2011-12 winter season received a record breaking 360 inches of snow.  On a more positive note the summer in Haines is coveted by those of us who live in other towns of Southeast Alaska.  Haines has far more sunshine and the local gardeners grow fantastic vegetable, fruit and flower gardens.  53 Snow Plow on the Pass25 7-Mi hike - frosted trees closeup01 Ice & WaterfallFort Seward snowed in.80 Ft. SwardHarbor in January and February.19 Harbor in January15 Boat Harbor in FebMoose at 16 mile.64 Moose at 16 Mile08 Haines Scenic 5Moon from Tanani. 16 Moon from Tanani BayGilnetter11 Gilnetter near house11 Dungenes crab from TaysankaA great catch….dungenes crab, salmon, halibut and red snapper.  A good friend of ours is Gary Lidholm, holding the halibut, third from the right.  Retired from the U.S. Forest Service, Gary and his wife Juanita spent a number of years serving at Echo Ranch Bible Camp, located approximately 40 miles north of downtown Juneau, and beyond the “end of the road”.  Our family loved working with them one summer while Gary served as camp director and Juanita as camp cook.  Juanita made friends for life with Quinn.  Following their service at Echo Ranch the Lidholms made their home in Haines.  Gary served as pastor for the Port Chilkoot Bible Church and Juanita ran an excellent bed and breakfast and grew an amazing garden.   One of Gary’s talents is photography and this post is filled with Alaskan scenery and wildlife shots of the Haines area that he has kindly shared with our family.  117 Group CatchRainbow Glacier11 Rainbow Glacier scenicMuch of the food and other provisions sold in stores are shipped to Alaska each week in the large containers like those shown here on this Alaska Marine Line barge.  17 AML Barge - 5 highLetnikof Cove31 Letnikof scenicA walk in the woods.546586_237330496389568_264618278_n260489_237330609722890_1982199423_nSpruce cones and aspen.47 Spruce cones & aspenMoss on rock.40 Moss on rockBoat launch at Chilkat State Park.IMG_0121scenery summerHanging glacier across the inlet from Chilkat State Park.IMG_0118Fields of fireweed grow approximately seven feet high.  The blossoms open from the bottom of the stalk and work upward as the weeks progress.  As the blaze of color reaches it’s peak we know that the end of summer is near.  74 Fireweed CloseupBack in Juneau we were so excited to go flight seeing with our a friend and pilot Joe Fanazick.  When he’s not out flying his own private float plane Joe serves as a medivac pilot with Life Link.   A medivac plane is essentially an air ambulance which contains basic life support equipment.  Joe transports patients in critical condition from Juneau’s International Airport to hospitals in Anchorage, Alaska and Seattle, Washington when specialized emergency care is necessary.  In 1997 Abigail was born three months prematurely.  Paul and Abigail were transported just minutes after delivery by medivac flight from Juneau to the neonatal intensive care unit in Anchorage, Alaska where Abigail remained for seven weeks.   Melissa was hospitalized for several weeks in Juneau and when recovered enough to travel joined Abigail in Anchorage.

Joe flew us over the Juneau Ice Field and the Taku River Valley.DSCF0912mountain flightglacier flightflight w: joeDSCF0922DSCF0935Island hopping is one of our favorite summer recreations.  Because there are no roads leading in or out of most towns in Southeast Alaska, a boat is the preferred choice of recreational vehicles.  The Inside Passage waterways become the road to adventure.  Hundreds of undeveloped fiords, inlets, coves, bays and islands are there for discovery.  Lighthouses are scattered along the coast warning boaters of hazardous reefs.2007 Summer ben and kim 2 091 - CopyTriple L Band joined us on a jaunt to Shelter Island, just north of Juneau.  We stayed in the Camping Cove cabin, one of many State Marine Park cabins that Paul was instrumental in building and maintaining during his years of service with Alaska State Parks.

These salmon are beyond eating but interesting for Landon to see.IMG_1583Camping Cove Cabin, Shelter IslandDSC_0014DSC_0012255243_234932073296077_363966759_nOur final concert took place at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council (JACC) building in downtown Juneau.  Paul and Melissa’s nephew Henry Masters, currently a student at the University of Alaska, Juneau, supplied us with some awesome photos.  quinn henrys photo206035_237332206389397_1293588301_nThe home town support far exceeded our expectations and we played to a standing room only audience.  284867_237331749722776_560652000_n531045_237332253056059_561018303_n409648_237332266389391_2030462057_n582633_237331716389446_940950193_n225150_237332006389417_1707214308_nlaura at i wish it was summer concertquinn i wish it was summer