Arts and Entertainment

Julie Duke adds fresh vibe to Island Music Center

Julie Duke, second from right, Island Music Center’s new Executive Director will perform a benefit concert for and at the nonprofit facility with her band Saturday.  - Courtesy Photo
Julie Duke, second from right, Island Music Center’s new Executive Director will perform a benefit concert for and at the nonprofit facility with her band Saturday.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

After cuts to funding led to Dave Bristow’s departure as head of Island Music Center in spring, board members stepped in to steer the ship as best they could.

On Sept. 19 blues songstress Julie Duke was hired on a part-time basis to handle administration and help invigorate the center.

She’ll be strengthening partnerships with local schools and booking a variety of concerts to fill the IMC stage on a more regular basis. There’s talk of starting an open mic night that can accommodate bands.

Duke combines her background in nonprofit management with a love of music. As the lead vocals of Bainbridge-based “The Julie Duke Band,” Duke reaches deep into the heart of blues, counting Etta James, Koko Taylor and Bettye Lovett as her influences.

She will perform, along with the band – Brain Barta on guitar, John Lester on drums and Jim Londay on bass – at a “danceable” benefit concert for IMC at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 at the center.

Chairs will be cleared from the front to allow for dancing Duke said.

“IMC has been known as sort of a sit back and watch venue,” Duke said. “We’ll do our best to change that.”

To get a listen before the show, visit www.juliedukeband.com.

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