Category Archives: Uncategorized


The Julians to perform at BROmance!



A day in the life of The Julians

A day in the life of the Julians: having a  rehearsal on a warm summer evening and being interrupted by on-air host at All Classical 89.9 FM (and neighbor!), Christa Wessel, who recorded us in her weeding gloves! Tune in from 9-1pm today   – you may hear us singing towards the end of her show!    Thanks for the great props, Christa!

The Julians to premiere Portland composer’s “Lighting the Leaves” at upcoming concert

" of my deepest creative passions is writing songs", Renée Favand-See

We are thrilled to be premiering local composer, Renée Favand-See’s jaw-dropping piece, “Lighting the Leaves” at our upcoming concert this Sunday.  (For more information visit our website). We were drawn to the challenge of the piece and after learning that Renée’s husband, Corin See, wrote the poetry for it, we think the metaphor and how it fits in our show is perfect kismet.

Renée was kind enough to write a few words for our blog about the piece: Continue reading

Things to do…

The Julians Checklist
Prepare for interview with James Bash of Oregon Music News
Design layout of images for slideshow
Schedule shopping trip for finishing touches of costume choices
Get audio clips to 89.9 FM
Drink water. Lots and lots.
Memorize. Memorize. Memorize.
Manis and pedis.
Voice lessons, yoga practice, kickboxing class, SLEEP.
Be outside, see the good in the world, appreciate health.
Have a martini.


TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY — Feb 12, 2012

Join The Julians on a journey of the heart as they navigate the peaks and pitfalls of dating for a year, marked in time by the changing of the seasons. This musical genre-bending experience will transport you to real and raw places
unique to the human condition.

Artists as diverse as Queen, Dolly Parton, Thomas Morley, Regina Spektor, Samuel Barber, Stevie Nicks, and The Beatles will be featured as well as a piece by local composer, Renée Favand-See.

The Julians will be joined by special musical guests; Jon Stuber on piano, Jerome Monaco on guitar, Jared Brownson on drums, and
Chris Fotinakis on violin/viola.
Free underground parking is available at SW 12th & Morrison.

Part of the Celebration Works Concert Series
1200 SW Alder Street
Tickets available cash/check at the door:Adults $12 Student/Senior $10

The Julians earn a glowing review from Oregon ArtsWatch

This just in from Oregon ArtWatch:  (Thank you Brett Campbell!)

'After a touching version of “Because,” singer Liz Bacon literally genuflected to John Lennon’s White Album portrait' (B. Campbell)

Other shows last weekend supplied abundant musical invigoration. The stage at The Julians’ Sunday afternoon concert at Portland’s St. Stephens Episcopal Parish boasted large posters bearing the visages of the iconic pop stars whose music they were covering. The all-star group of female singers, drawn from top-drawer groups like Resonance, Portland Symphonic Choir, PVC, In Mulieribus and more, channel potent pop and other music from composers from John Lennon to Kurt Weill to contemporary pop songwriters and make it their own — without the dreaded clueless condescension that often transpires when cabaret crooners or opera divo/as go slumming around in pop.

They’re sort of like the Portland Cello Project with voices instead of cellos — and, hmm, come to think of it, what a combination that would be. Each singer’s voice has real presence, and while their harmonies are as tight and spot-on as you’d expect from their resumes, they profitably exploit their voices’ distinctive textures.

From the opening old Tears for Fears hit “Mad World” through an encore of Bill Withers’ soul classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” The Julians sounded fresh and feisty, with smart, concise sometimes doo-wop-influenced arrangements (especially by Kristen Buhler) that added to rather than detracting from the originals’ beauty. Not that I’d ever want to forgo the pleasure of the originals by Lennon, Joni Mitchell, or even Leonard Cohen, but various interpretations can bring out different attractions in them.  After a touching version of “Because,” singer Liz Bacon literally genuflected to John Lennon’s White Album portrait. In fact, in songs by some of today’s most original songwriters, like Bjork, Regina Spektor, and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, the Julians’ pinpoint harmonies and restrained arrangements revealed sinewy structures sometimes obscured by electric or electronic pop studio wizardry. Voices are often the weak link in today’s indie rock, where any hint of polish or precision is taken as evidence of counterrevolutionary inauthenticity, and it’s a treat to hear great singer/songwriters’ words interpreted by quite different instruments, even if the Julians never make a fetish of their obvious training and talent.

Frequently garnishing their two-, three- and occasionally four-part vocal harmonies with light percussion (cabasa, maracas, xylophone, metallophone, glockenspiel, woodblock, claves), plus ukulele, piano, and Chris Fotinakis’s violin and guitar and Jon Stuber and Buhler’s piano, the group sounded completely natural in a startling range of repertoire: Brahms, the great contemporary Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, Greek composer Michael Adamis, a traditional Georgian ballad, and more, including popsters from Cat Stevens to Sara Bareilles.

The perhaps overly thematic program sought cohesiveness with a framework allegedly proceeding through the stages of love, and each section introduced by a line from Mary Oliver’s famous poem “Wild Geese,” plus a theme of “he said” and “she said”  — gender-determined differences in perspective on love. A few moments got a little (winkingly) steamy for a Sunday afternoon in a church; the audience gobbled it up like the cookies at the after-concert reception.

In the second half, each singer received a solo showcase preceded by introductions written in haiku from another ensemble member, and in one case, a literal boost onto the piano from Stuber and Fotsinakis for a smoky cabaret version of Spektor’s “Summer in the City.” Other highlights included a bluesy reharmonization of Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg’s Wizardly hit “If I Only Had a Heart” and a poignant cover of Weill’s “Stay Well.” When the pace threatened to flag, out came belters like “Hurricane Drunk.” The cleverly varied combinations and styles and quick transitions made a too-long program feel over too soon.

If bland and pretty too often represents the sometimes-enervated present of vocal music, I hope the Julians signal one exciting aspect of its future. They’re one of the most refreshing breezes to blow through Portland’s alt classical scene.



Dear Friends of the Julians:

I’m so excited I could just kiss you ALL on the mouth.  Really.

This will be our first official concert with the ‘new four’ and it is inspiring to see how well we have all done with the transition. Vakare has found her own unique spot and has nestled in so gracefully that I am speechless about it.  Just wait until you see how she can work a piano, without playing a note. Just wait until you see her do anything.  Yum.

Jon Stuber, once again joins us on piano (and more – surprises abound with him too…again, just you just wait) I really think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are the luckiest women alive to be able to have him by our side.

Chris Fotinakis, another returning guest artist, is a brilliant combination of talent and humility.  I pinch myself each time he improvisationally ribbons a phrase into one of our tunes with his viola, or violin, or guitar…or voice… (and there are some surprises in store in this show with him, too.  All I’m gonna say is that it involves Chris, the Js, Stuber and some sunshine.  Oh, also —  you will wet your pants, so plan accordingly.  That’s all I’m gonna say about that).

Maria arranged another smokin’ hot Björk tune for us. You’re gonna love it.

Our Artistic/Creative/Goddess/Director, Kristen created a beautiful vision for us and we have all rose to the challenge of it.   This month has been a whirlwind of radio interviews, rehearsing, press releases, booking new gigs all the while recovering from colds and flus, wedding planning and day job burnout.   Truly, the level of music making that is happening with us is so breathtaking.

New bumper sticker idea:  
“It is a good day to be a J”.    

And finally, I leave you with these words from Joni Mitchell, who composed the words and music to a beautiful song called Woodstock,  one of the pieces on this concert.  Consider them on this day of music making, and protest marches:
Maybe it’s just the time of year,
or maybe it’s the time of Man,
I don’t know who I am,
But, you know, life is for learning. 

Come to this show.

PS  Click here to hear our radio interview with Dmae Roberts of KBOO Radio’s Stage and Studio. 


For immediate release through November 20th, 2011
Liz Bacon
(971) 212-8034





The Julians present:  “He Said/She Said”
at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish
Sunday November 20th at 2 pm

Join Portland’s genre-defying lady vocal quartet as they pioneer their own gender study through music as part of the 2011-2012 St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish concert series. Female and male composers’ takes on topics will be performed side by side in a variety of styles including: classical, indie, jazz, and pop. Composers as diverse as Björk, Johannes Brahms, Regina Spektor, Michael Adamis, Joni Mitchell, Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service, Kristina Vasiliauskaitė, John Lennon, and local composer Renée Favand-See will be featured. You’ll experience new and old favorites in a brand new way through the bioptic lens of “He Said/She Said.”
The Julians will be joined by Chris Fotinakis on violin, viola and guitar.

WHEN:  Sunday, November 20th at 2 pm
WHERE:  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish 1432 SW 13th Portland, OR (on the corner of SW 13th & Clay)
TICKETS:  $10 cash/check suggested donation at the door or tickets can be purchased at: 503-227-5783 or e-mail

Come to the cabaret, ol’ chums – THIS SUNDAY!


SASS Patrol! A Genderfantasy Fundraiser! OCT 16th
by Kaj-anne Pepper

Kaj-anne Pepper and Jodi Bon Jodi present SASS Patrol! A fundraiser for Genderfantasy! an upcoming show directed by Kaj-anne Pepper. Come to SASS Patrol! a sassy and fun cabaret of local dance, drag and song by Chi Chi and Chonga, Cattitude, The Julians, Feyonce, Fannie Mae Darling and more!

OCT 16th at the SOMEDAY LOUNGE doors at 7 show at 8pm!

Hosted by PDX’s newest Piwacket Extraordinaire!

Raffle, Prizes and a special 15 minute PREVIEW of the upcoming Genderfantasy! (Premiering DEC 1-4th at The Headwaters Theatre)

7-15$ sliding scale tickets at door
Doors @ 7
Show @ 8
wheelchair accessible

Click here for Presale tickets

Genderfantasy! is queer glamour. Kaj-anne Pepper directs a theatrical dance exploring physicality, identity and power. A dance pageant set in a nightclub where four dancers invoke, contain and release a multitude of relationships and identities in a spellbinding surreal drag show. Weaving together sound collage, movement, video and installation Genderfantasy! is a multi-sensory ritual at the crossroads between man and woman, human and spirit, glamour and realness.

Evolution of a Song-“Such Great Heights”

The js collaborating at a recent rehearsal (Aug 2011)

Many of our fans have asked us how we choose such interesting and diverse music to arrange and perform.  We thought we would take a song we recently recorded, “Such Great Heights” and share our experience with it.

The song itself has an interesting back story. It was originally written by Benjamin Gibbard & Jimmy Tamborello of Postal Service in 2003 (Benjamin Gibbard is also the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie). It has also been covered by the band Iron & Wine. The song has been used in several television commercials:, Kaiser Permanente, Target, UPS and M&M’s.  It  was featured in the trailer for the 2004 film ‘Garden State’ and the Iron & Wine version was featured in the film and its soundtrack. You can also hear it featured in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, (hello, McDreamy…) and it appears on its season one soundtrack, Grey’s Anatomy Original Soundtrack Volume 1. “Such Great Heights” ranked 27 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of the Decade list. (…and thank you Wikipedia…)

The Julian connection to the song started last spring.   Our lovely and talented Maria transcribed the solo verses, wrote parts for the chorus and brought it to the group.

The Js performed ‘Such Great Heights’ on the Melodies & Desires show in May with the fabulous Chris Fotinakis on guitar.  Our audience loved the performance of it so much (and so did we!) that we were inspired to continue adding layers and developing new versions of an already great arrangement. 

Maria industriously taught herself some ukulele and figured out an accompaniment for the song and in a recently recorded jam session in August 2011, Liz, Vakare, and Kristen played around with harmonies on the verses.  The result is a pretty kickass tune.  We hope you think so too.

(To hear the Julians performing this and other tunes, please visit their website.)