By Elwyn Pratt
Special to the Journal
Islanders and visitors will gather at Lime Kiln Point State Park to sing for our marine neighbors this Saturday, June 22. The Annual Orca Sing Concert brings friends, families, wildlife enthusiasts and musicians together for a celebration of the Salish Sea ecosystem and—hopefully—to see the orcas in person.
“Whenever the whales go by, it’s the best,” Erin Corra says. Corra is the founder and program director of Friends of Lime Kiln Society (F.O.L.K.S.), a group of islanders dedicated to financially supporting one of our county’s most treasured historic parks. According to Corra, the whales have made a presence at about half of the annual Orca Sing events.
“I remember one particular time about four or five years ago,” Corra recalls. “The Orcas came by and kept swimming back and forth. Everyone was so elated and of course the choir was singing ‘Hallelujah’. It’s been burned in my memory Corra has been to every Orca Sing since 2007, but this is the first year that F.O.L.K.S. will be organizing the event, along with the Whale Museum and Friends of the San Juans. In years past, People for Puget Sound had been the main face of the Orca Sing, but the group has since dissolved due to its founder retiring.
“We want to keep the tradition alive, but this year we’re shifting from being ‘plugged’ to ‘unplugged’, so we’re just looking for local acoustic musicians,” Corra says. “It’s really just about keeping it local and low-key. We don’t need to amplify it.”
The event also coincides with the centennial of the Washington State Parks. F.O.L.K.S. already celebrated the parks’ 100th birthday - March 19 - with the San Juan Island Trails Association, but the most exciting events have yet to come. July will feature the Lighthouse Fly-by, allowing people to gather around the Lime Kiln State Park lighthouse while a photographer takes aerial pictures from a plane circling overhead. And in August, F.O.L.K.S. is preparing to fire up (literally) the historic lime kiln. “Bring s’mores!” Corra says.
— The Washington State Park Discover Pass is required for parking and can be purchased at the park for $10. For additional information, visit F.O.L.K.S. at their Facebook page or go to FolksSJI.org. The Orca Sing begins at 6 p.m. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged.