Bluegrass in Baker


Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 12.32.52 PMBAKER CITY — Grammy award-winning artist Laurie Lewis will bring bluegrass to Baker City to help raise money for the restoration of the Baker Orpheum Theatre.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. April 20 at Lefty’s Taphouse, 1934 Broadway St. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. To purchase tickets, go to, call 541-523-9652 or stop by Betty’s Books.

Lewis’ stop in Baker City precipitated from a chance meeting between Carol Harley, who has known Lewis since 1998, and Aletha Bonebrake, who is working on the Baker Orpheum project. When Harley learned about the theater project, she volunteered to see if Lewis could give a benefit concert in Baker City. Turns out Lewis was traveling through Eastern Oregon on the way to her inaugural “Bluegrass in the Gorge” music retreat that starts April 22.

“I called her up and said, ‘How would you like to stop in Baker City?’” Harley said.

Lewis said yes.

“It’ll be an incredible show,” Harley said. “She really is a phenomenal human being.”

Since 1986, Lewis has recorded nearly 20 albums. Her latest album “The Hazel and Alice Sessions” with her band The Right Hands (Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber and Andrew Conklin) was nominated for the “Best Bluegrass Recording” Grammy in 2017. Lewis has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association. For Friday’s concert, she will be joined by Tom Rozum on mandolin, Brandon Godman on fiddle and Justin Hiltner on banjo.

Lewis led “Bluegrass at the Beach,” which is where Harley met her in 1998. Harley and her daughter, Laura Morin, attended that music camp for 14 years during the time they toured with their own band, Misty River. In the early 2000s, Morin accompanied Lewis on several European tours.

“She tours all over the world teaching bluegrass,” Harley said.

Morin has lived in Hereford for four years, and Harley moved to Baker City a year ago. Mother and daughter now teach music every week at the Burnt River School in Unity, and Morin will join Lewis for several songs at Friday’s concert.

Orpheum Theater Project

Baker City’s Orpheum Theater opened in 1889. It operated as a theater until 1956 (with a break due to a fire in the 1930s). In 1964 it became a hardware store and later a music store. In 2016, Baker City local David Burris donated the money for Eastern Oregon Regional Theatre to purchase the building.

The renovation project has received grants for the first phases and will continue with local fundraising as well.

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