The tiny town on the Willapa River was founded in 1907 and boasted its biggest population in 1913. Less than two decades later, the town’s most-recognizable landmark, the Raymond Theater, rose downtown. Built of terra cotta and concrete, the theater features an art deco design that helped define the period.
The historic theater opened in October 1928 with a showing of The Jazz Singer. Fast-forward nearly ninety years, and the Raymond Theater remains a community centerpiece, playing the role of movie house, concert venue, performing arts center and cultural icon. It stands as a top-tier event space, a literal and figurative testament to Pacific County’s adoration of the arts.
Sunday Afternoon Live
One of the Raymond Theater’s biggest attractions is the Sunday Afternoon Live concert series, which brings regionally and nationally acclaimed musicians to Southwestern Washington throughout fall, winter and spring. From humble community beginnings, the concerts are now a theater mainstay.
“SAL’s reputation grew as enthusiastic audiences of all ages packed the theater,” reads the theater’s website.
And as Sunday Afternoon Live’s reputation grew, so did its popularity. The Raymond Theater typically hosts one Sunday Afternoon Live performance each month between September and May.
Performances cross musical genres and styles – Patsy Cline tribute singer Sara Catherine Wheatley plays a sold-out show on Feb. 21; pop-jazz-Latin-classical crossover group Quattrosound takes the stage March 20; and The Sojourners, who weave doo wop, R&B, country and gospel, perform April 10. Bronn Journey & Katherine rounds out the 2016 concert schedule with a May 8 Mother’s Day performance.
The theater also hosts children’s entertainment, bringing acts like Alex “The Zaniac” Zerbe to Raymond.
Sunday Afternoon Live relies partially on the generosity of its community to continue showcasing fabulous music. Anyone interesting in supporting the performances can donate online. The theater is also funded by Pacific County Lodging Tax grants, which are generated by visitor spending.
Day-of Sunday Afternoon Live admission is $15, and season tickets cost $65. For more information, call (360) 875-5831.
Live Peninsula performances and music can also be seen and heard at the Pickled Fish restaurant, the Sou’Wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Trailer RV Park and the Peninsula Association of Performing Arts, among other venues.