On April 25, Centennial Hall was transformed from an all-purpose auditorium to an intimate jazz club. An elegant dinner was served, folks perused the silent auction, and an exciting live auction occurred. And — of course — we had gorgeous music. All that and more at the Festival’s fundraiser “But Beautiful: Billie Holiday Remembered.”

Pianist Lara Downes has been touring with a new project that revisits the music of Billie Holiday as works for classical piano. The Festival was lucky to have her visit Sitka to perform, and help the Festival raise money to support ongoing operations. The evening was a rounding success. The Festival exceeded its fundraising goals, in large part due to the live auction, skillfully led by Dave Miller. On the auction block were some great items, like a week in a large Girdwood cabin, a weekend at the El Paso chamber music festival, Pro Musica, hosted by our own Zuill Bailey, and a gourmet dinner for four with the Arianna String Quartet hosted on Whale Island by board president Don Lehmann. The highlight of the auction, and the evening, was a chance to sit onstage with Lara Downes as she performed “Rhapsody in Blue.”

Our deepest thanks to the attendees, volunteers, and donors who helped make this evening such a grand success.