Bringing Classical and Jazz Music to Life in Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska – For almost 40 years, Juneau Jazz and Classics – a recent Avista Foundation Grant recipient – has been bringing world class musicians to its fall music festival. That event is a series of free and paid concerts all over the community, and part of the deal is that visiting musicians also will perform at local schools.

“COVID made that pretty much impossible,” said Sandy Fortier, executive director of Juneau Jazz and Classics. “We tried virtual concerts, but attendance just went down every time.”

Local musicians were also having a hard time getting gigs during COVID, so last year Juneau Jazz and Classics scheduled some outdoor concerts instead of their regular program.

“The weather was so bad. It was freezing cold, and we were so worried about the musicians and everyone,” said Fortier. “But the concerts were so successful because people just hadn’t been out in a long time. We helped provide a sense of normalcy.”

Looking forward to the 2022 season, Fortier said they have added a music festival in May while keeping the usual fall festival.

“Sometimes we do jazz and classical together in one concert, sometimes we do half and half,” Fortier said. “We are really hoping for a normal summer season.”

Besides the great music, Fortier also looks forward to seeing all the volunteers in action again.

“We have a lot of volunteers that help us, and it is just so nice to everyone come out and catch up with each other,” Fortier said. “It’s just so fun to see everybody get together for the festivals.”

At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people's lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit

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