It’s yet another good week for Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”
Olympic Music Festival
Last Saturday a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones drove an hour and a half out onto Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula for a performance at the Olympic Music Festival. The venue of the festival is snuggled into the grandeur of a forested, sparsely populated area.
Alan Iglitzin, a member of the Philadelphia String Quartet, founded the Olympic Music Festival in 1984. He originally intended the festival to be a summer retreat for the Philadelphia String Quartet, which had been the quartet-in-residence at the University of Washington in Seattle from 1966 to 1982. But the summer festival drew such large audiences that the festival quickly expanded from the three weekends of its opening season to the current twelve.
The Olympic Music Festival takes place in the refurbished barn of an old farm that Iglitzin purchased near Quilcene, WA. An extensive picnic area surrounds the barn, and many patrons arrive early and enjoy a picnic before the performance. Two listening options are available: seating on benches and bales of hay inside the barn, and outdoor listening (on your own chairs or blanket) on the grassy hillside adjacent to the barn. The outdoor seating allows families to bring children who may not be quite ready to sit still quietly indoors for an extended period. The atmosphere reminds me of Tanglewood in Lenox, MA, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Last Saturday was a windy, overcast day with occasional sprinkles of much-needed rain. We did manage to eat our picnic lunches outdoors before the performance, but it was not a good day for photography. Therefore, the photos below are from our 2014 visit to the Olympic Music Festival.
1. The Barn
When Alan Iglitzin bought the farm near Quilcene, it had fallen into disrepair. He knew nothing about the farm’s history. But over the years he learned that the farm’s original owners were a Japanese American family who had built the farmhouse and barn to accommodate themselves and a herd of dairy cows. They also grew berries and other seasonal produce and for many years provided dairy items and produce to local residents.
When the U.S. entered World War II, the family was sent to an interment camp. After the war they were unable to regain the property, which passed through multiple owners but never again became a thriving, working farm.
In the 1990s Isamu “Sam” Iseri, the son of the family that had built the barn called Iglitzin and asked if he could visit his boyhood home. He and Iglitzin became friends. Sam died in 2004, but members of the Iseri family continue to visit their ancestral farm periodically.
For some, the festival provides the opportunity to speak to the young musicians.
There are several reminders of the venue’s history as a working farm.