For nine years, the Americana Project program has been encouraging and teaching Sisters High School students to write, perform and record their own music.
It’s a pretty cool deal, so much so that the program has spread to five other Oregon high schools.
But the roots are deepest in Sisters, where the class has produced six full-length recordings to showcase the best of what the Americana Project has to offer. This year’s students will play songs from their compilation, “The Skyline Sessions,” Saturday night at Sisters High School (1700 W. McKinney Butte Road).
The lineup includes several of the program’s top players, including Tanner Smith, Bailey Showalter, Janelle Johnson, Beth Halderman, Kaity Douglass, John Morton, Laura Curtis, Austin Erlandson, Danielle Balderson, Drew Harrison and Matt Cartmill.
Americana Project founder Brad Tisdel said the songs on “The Skyline Sessions” run the stylistic gamut, from folk songs to full-band productions, with guitar, bass, drums, piano, cello and whatever else the students deemed necessary.
“They’re pretty impressive,” Tisdel said. “They get a good sound. And the thing that’s most impressive is that they’re not only original songs, but that they were engineered and produced by the students, primarily on the equipment we have at Sisters High School.”
It’s the fifth time in six CDs that the students have done the studio work themselves, Tisdel said. “We’re really proud of that,” he said.
The evening will also include a silent auction for a guitar to raise funds for Sisters High School art teacher Mike Baynes to help him travel to New York to see one of his students, Tanner Smith, awarded an American Vision award for his sculpture called “Hand and Foot.” Baynes will also receive a medal at the ceremony, which will be held June 4.
The show will get started at 7 p.m. with an opening performance by Americana Project students from Crook County High School. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under age 12, and are available at the door.
For more info, call 541-549-4979 or e-mail info@sistersfolk festival.org.
— Ben Salmon