Making beautiful music in Port Townsend since 1974

The Northwestern nonprofit brings art to an army base. Sponsored by the center.

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Making beautiful music since he began in 1974 together was the core of Centrum.

“It’s all about participation,” said Suzy Thompson, former Artistic Director of Fiddle Tunes Festival, one of Centrum’s flagship events. “It’s just about making music, singing with music, music as a social experience, and that’s what drives people to integrate music or any kind of art into their daily lives, and that’s what we’re really trying to do here do.”

It began with fiddle tunes, chamber music and jazz, all taking place in a huge circus tent on the campus of Fort Worden State Park, a former military base.

Today, the Centrum’s musical reach includes Brazilian choro, acoustic blues, vocals, strings and even a ukulele festival.

And not just concerts. Workshops and jam sessions on the porch bring the music to life.

Del Rey is a Seattle musician with decades of teaching experience at the Centrum.

“Centrum is a way for artists around the world — and across the country — to connect with people from the Northwest and show them what their music is about,” said Rey. “It opened up my musical world. I’ve taken this music from Centrum to other places around the world, and some of that training I received through teaching and being part of Centrum has allowed me to take this music to other places. So just a great program.

Seattle musician Ben Hunter was a fellow at the Centrum, then taught there, and is now the artistic director of the Northwest Folklife Festival.

“I believe that music – especially folk music – is going to save the world,” Hunter said. “Those folk stories, this ability to tell a story, to pass on a story, is a reflection of the human condition. So when we support something like Centrum, or dare I say Northwest Folklife, we commit to preserving what makes us most human.”

John Clayton, musician and artistic director of Jazz Port Townsend asks: “Think of a world without Centrum, if Centrum weren’t here we wouldn’t have this home to pursue our wildest artistic dreams. It wouldn’t be there. And what are you doing then?”

Whether you come to listen, learn, or both, Centrum is a musical experience you won’t find anywhere else.

To support scholarships for students wishing to attend the centrum, make a donation at

Sponsored by the center. The evening of KING 5 celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, TwitterInstagram, email. Making beautiful music in Port Townsend since 1974

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