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With this 'orchestra,' everyone gets a chance to be the star.

Byline: Carolyn Lamberson The Register-Guard

An all-star assemblage of jam-band talent will aim to entertain and inspire on Saturday when the Everyone Orchestra convenes at the WOW Hall for the second annual benefit for the Pangaea Project.

This version of the Everyone Orchestra will feature drummer Jon Fishman (Phish), drummer and organizer Matt Butler (Jambay), bassist Kai Eckhardt (Garaj Mahal), guitarist and mandolinist Scott Law (Hanuman), percussionist Jarrod Kaplan (Trillian Green, Hanuman), vocalist Libby Kirkpatrick, keyboardist Asher Fulero (Habaneros), trumpeter Tim McLaughlin (Eleven Eyes) and "conductor" Tye North (Leftover Salmon).

Butler, who grew up in Eugene, said the idea is to combine music with activism.

"Part of wanting to do this was to bring in activists and create a space for them to be on the same level as a rock star, to be in this creative element, not just up there speaking at an engagement, but to be in this exciting, creative thing, to activate people.

`Because music is such a good medium for activating people."

That said, he also wanted to create a way to play with a whole bunch of musicians he admired without having to form another band.

"Basically you could say, `Hey, will you come and be a part of this. And all you have to do is show up and we can make up the music and play a cohesive show that incorporates a little of what everybody does best, plus stuff that we'll improvise and make up on the spot.' '

Improvisation, naturally, is a big part of the Everyone Orchestra.

`When we're doing large-scale improvisations, and there's a conductor, that's just a completely different, playful musical space," he said. "And to just sit back and listen to the music and not see what's happening, you might not get it.

`But to be participating and to be watching what's going on, everyone is so present because everyone is on the same page and basically waiting for the ball to be thrown to them, there's just this aliveness that happens."

With the Everyone Orchestra, things are rarely the same twice. Butler has "core" groups of musicians he can call on in different parts of the country. Then, for a given show, he'll supplement the core with guest stars and local musicians.

"It's a little bit ritualistic in the sense that it's a very nonhierarchical performing environment,' Butler said.

"We're taking turns leading the stage and giving people a certain amount of time to do whatever they want, either with the whole ensemble or various mixtures of people who are participating.

`Then there are the conducted elements in which everyone is up on stage, and often we have special guests just kind of arrive and participate.'

There have been orchestras of seven musicians and ones with 30 musicians. After 20 or so performances, there's been only one constant: Butler.

But not even he's been in all of them. He missed the first gathering, back in 2001, when his appendix burst the day of the show.

`And the show went on," he said. "I hadn't really told them what was going to happen. ... They show up and I'm not there, and I got all these feedback like, `This is the best show that you've ever booked.' '

Proceeds from the Eugene show - as well as the shows last night and today in Portland - will benefit Pangaea Project, a Portland-based organization that helps inner-city teens learn leadership skills and global awareness through local and international service projects.

`We're really trying to build these events to be the seed money to really help Pangaea explode," Butler said.


Everyone Orchestra

When: 8:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: WOW Hall, 291 W. Eighth Ave

Tickets: $15 in advance, available at WOW Hall, TicketsWest outlets, (800) 992-8499 or www


Matt Butler is the force that drives Everyone Orchestra.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 15, 2005
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