A voyage through American music: One World Music Festival is back for another year of song and dance

Martin Lund

When you’re Martin Lund, you can handpick gifted musicians and dancers and bring them all together for variety show mayhem.

“Audiences can expect a wild ride. I guarantee it,” said Lund, who is presenting his annual music festival on the Orcas Center main stage.

He says the inspiration for this year’s show came from sound engineer Kevin Colomby.

“Last year he whispered sweet nothings in my ear about doing an American theme so he could sing ’16 Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford,” said Lund. “So the show is celebrating American song and dance. You’ll see an American panorama … I’ve got the sweetest rhythm section. You are only as good as your drummer – that is my motto.”

The One World Music Festival is on Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 at www.orcascenter.org. A pre-show dinner from the Kitchen will be held on Friday in the Madrona Room; tickets are $60 for the show and meal.

Lund is a clarinet, saxophone, flute, accordion and piano player who worked in Los Angeles as a composer, arranger and musician prior to moving to Orcas Island. He launched the festival in 2002 to raise money for the Funhouse Commons, a community center for youth that his close friend and fellow musician Jim Bredouw built. Since then, the two-day music event has become an island tradition. It brings in around $5,000 for the Funhouse.

“For one thing, I love giving the audience a good time,” said Lund. “If I’ve done that, I am happy. My day is made.”

The show will travel through the decades starting with the Civil War era and ending in the 1990s. Audiences will hear a taste of just about everything from bee bop to country to soul, disco and pop. In addition to Lund, the performing line-up features singers Pete Kirkland, Grace McCune, Gene Nery and Kevin Colomby; native flute virtuoso Vince Redhouse; rhythm section Chuck Deardorf, Lek Thixton, Chris Leighton; girl group members Deborah Sparks, Kristin Wilson, Colleen Smith Armstrong and Jim Schaffer-Bauch; dancers Tiffany Loney and Katie Zwilling; horn players Matt Jenson, Beth Jenson, Steve Alboucq, Gregory Books, Craig Canine; and Paris Wilson and Emy and Lisa Carter of the group Almost Classical.

“I love the variety of music that he chooses every year,” said pianist and songwriter McCune. “It’s exciting the different genres he picks and how he puts it all together. Martin is brilliant. There is no end to his talent. And every year that is showcased in One World.”

This is McCune’s fifth One World show with Lund, who writes all of the band arrangements for the horn section.

“That’s the triple threat in the music world: a good performer, musician and arranger,” she said. “Whenever I am asked, I’m always very honored to play music with him. I love having Martin at the keys and the band playing while I sing. It’s such a treat.”