Nonprofit group spotlights regional musicians with free festival

click to enlarge Brian Kai Chin
Brian Kai Chin

The Common Tone Music Festival kicks off today, with three nights of music planned

for Pullman and Moscow.

The third annual festival is organized by the nonprofit group, Common Tone Arts. Brian Kai Chin, founder and executive director of the group, said he created the festival to inspire artists. It will showcase visual art, poetry and music each day.

“This organization (Common Tone Arts) is designed to be kind of an artistic generator, as well as a new way to think about how we do education for artists in the 21st century,” said Chin, who lives in Seattle.

Born and raised in Moscow, Chin grew up with music as a top priority. After earning degrees in music at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, he was offered a job playing trumpet with Symphony Tacoma and relocated to Seattle. He quickly realized he didn’t want to be restricted in what he was playing and began working on a career that focused more on composing his own music. He began teaching at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle and founded Common Tone Arts.

“One of our (festival’s) missions is to highlight Northwest artists,” said Chin. “A lot of festivals will bring in people from around the world for a week but we want to highlight local musicians.”

The festival will feature artists from around the Pacific Northwest, with the majority residing in the Seattle, Spokane, Moscow or Pullman areas. The nonprofit group organizes performances around the Northwest. The festivals are a way to share live music with the community, while providing an opportunity for artists in the area to showcase their talents, Chin said.

“I really want people to think of this festival as ‘of the community’ and ‘for the community’.”

The festival is happening at two locations. It begins tonight at Merry Cellars Winery in Pullman with an evening performance by Artemisia Winds and the Torch Collective. The collective is a collaborative ensemble that is part of Common Tone Arts. It will premiere 13 new compositions in the program, “Dance & Resistance,” at Friday's concert at the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Center in Moscow.

“It’s actually a culmination of a year’s worth of work,” Chin said about the program.

The festival concludes Saturday with an afternoon concert at the center featuring both groups, along with other trios and ensembles.

“I really want people to think of this festival as ‘of the community’ and ‘for the community’.”

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