Music on the Palouse Brings Concerts to Small Communities in Whitman County

With help from a grant from Humanities Washington, the Whitman County Library brings concerts to small towns with its Music on the Palouse concert series.

Hank Cramer performs at the St. John library branch during a past Music on the Palouse concert.

Singer Mary Michaelson and musician Lou Lippman are set for a busy week. From Monday (June 25) through Friday (June 29), the duo will perform 14 concerts in five days throughout Whitman County.

Together, Lippman and Michaelson are Travelin’ Light, the featured performers for this year’s iteration of Music on the Palouse. The concert series is put on by Whitman County Library, with support for Humanities Washington’s grant program.


Who: Whitman County Library
Established: 1944
Serves: 15,000 residents, spread over 2,150 square miles
Mission: “… to stimulate the connections between people and ideas, to encourage literacy, and to enhance opportunities for self-education and recreation.”

Whitman County Library

The annual event has boomed over the past few years, from five concerts at the library’s largest branches five years ago to performances in all of the 14 towns in Whitman County with libraries in 2012.

“Our mission is to meet the cultural and entertainment needs of all of our residents, not just the ones that live in towns with a population over 550 or can drive 30 miles for a concert,” said Clancy Pool, the branch services manager for the Whitman County Library.

In the past, Music on the Palouse has brought in several performers – all of them country musicians. This year, the library was looking to appeal to the diverse tastes of the residents of its towns. Michaelson and Lippman play a variety of musical genres, from light jazz and oldies to music for younger audiences.

Their music is from the 1920s to the 1950s, and brings communities together.

Girl Dancing

A young music lover from Malden dances during a Music on the Palouse concert in 2011.

“When you play old familiar songs that people might request … that brings people together, because they all know this song and they resonate to it,” says Michaelson.

At concerts geared especially toward children, some of the songs will also tie in to the library’s summer reading theme. In the past, performers played sea ballads for the theme “Make a Splash” or Irish folk music for the theme “One World, Many Stories.” This year the theme is “Dream Big,” so Michaelson and Lippman will perform songs to inspire imagination.

The concert series is one way for the Whitman County Library to involve the residents of its smaller towns in community events.

“Like (in) all rural areas, music brings us together,” Pool said. “From Grange dances to church to school concerts, music is a major cultural connection.”


All events are free and family friendly. In case of rain, outdoor concerts will be held inside.

June 25
• 10:30 a.m. Colton Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 12:30 p.m. Uniontown Park [Details]
• 6 p.m. Garfield City Park [Details]

Jun. 26
• 9 a.m. Palouse Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 1 p.m. Alice Porter Memorial Library, Rosalia [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 6:30 p.m. Albion City Park [Details]

Jun. 27
• 11 a.m. Oakesdale Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 1 p.m. St. John Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 6 p.m. Tekoa Library [Details]

Jun. 28
• 10:30 a.m. Colfax Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 2 p.m. Farmington Library [Details] This program is especially for children.
• 6 p.m. Malden City Park [Details]

Jun. 29
• 11:30 a.m. LaCrosse Town Park [Details]
• 1:30 p.m. Endicott City Park [Details] This program is especially for children.

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