The Old Curmudgeon: A tale of our two cities

May 2009 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

By Vern Holmquist

The Old Curmudgeon

Just four miles apart with no barriers I am aware, yet I see quite a difference between Mt. Angel and Silverton. I will not judge which is the better. I just want to point out the difference.

Mt Angel celebrates its Bavarian heritage with total focus. Silverton celebrates a multicultural world.

Mt. Angel celebrates its Catholic founders. Silverton celebrates a cartoonist (Homer Davenport) and a well-traveled dog named Bobbie.

Mt Angel celebrates the polka, German beer and sausages. Silverton celebrates art, wine and jazz.  Mt. Angel extends a friendly but reserved welcome to newcomers. Silverton seems to say “Welcome, stranger.” While the Mt. Angel Council is a little press shy, Silverton’s mayor is getting national attention.

Now to the reason for this comparison at this time.

I’m sure I’ll be writing about Oktoberfest later, but I just spent a wonderful 12 hours at the Silverton Wine and Jazz Festival. What a great day it was at every turn, starting with the Silverton High School Jazz band, followed by the Sherwood High School jazz band and then the near-professional jazz band from Western Oregon University playing under the marquee of the Palace Theatre.

Then the walk around downtown to the 11 sites, picking which group you wanted to hear. At Citizens Bank Nancy King filled the room to capacity. It was there I witnessed the highly respected artist who portrays jazz performers, Diane Russell, present Nancy with her portrait – a touching moment.

Another bright moment came by way of the Girls From Company B showing up at various venues recreating the Andrews Sisters who pulled us through WWII.

Then the grand finale – a packed room at the Elks Lodge where the great gentleman of jazz, Mel Brown, with Louis Pain on the B-3 and the wild sax of Renalto Caranto closed a great day.

. . .

Tomorrow Mt. Angel will honor our armed forces. The 16th of May is Armed Forces Day. Our own American Legion Post will again bring our attention to the sacrifices made for our liberty. I especially thank those who may have joined our National Guard perhaps for reasons other than war but have found themselves standing their duty in Iraq and Afghanistan without complaint. They are certainly entitled to their benefits on their return. I’ll share a tear with you as our flag passes in review.

And then on the 18th of this month, 60 of our local non-profit organizations will benefit from their own economic stimulus plan. I am, of course, referring to our amazing Oktoberfest Board and its annual awards.

Yes, they still amaze me with world-class events I find hard to believe are here in Sleepy Hollow. With the help of the Mt. Angel Chamber of Commerce, 2,000 people paid admission to honor a sausage. Wow!

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