#225 Rob Birman, Centrum Executive Director

(Airdate: July 11, 2023) Maryanne interviews Rob Birman, the Executive Director of Centrum, Port Townsend’s venerable music centerpiece, now celebrating its 50th anniversary. The season gets off to a spectacular start with a benefit concert by Centrum alum Diana Krall. Although not all Centrum alum end up with careers exactly like hers, Centrum workshops have helped fuel many music careers. Workshops cut across many genres – including ukulele, chamber music, jazz, fiddle tunes, and blues. Roughly 35,000 musicians and concert attendees have participated over the years. Birman steered the non-profit through the dark days of the pandemic. Revenue dropped 98% during 2020. But 2023 looks like it might be back to 2019 levels. There’s plenty planned to celebrate the 50th – including a series of paintings by local artist Max Grover, Sunrise Coffee is planning on introducing a new coffee line dubbed “a cup of Joe” after Joseph Wheeler who launched Centrum back in 1973. There are many more special events, according to Birman.