EVENTS: A slew of concerts, First Taste Oregon and roller derby

This weekend in Salem, learn about regional history, taste wine and choose from several touring comedy shows.

Here’s the roundup of events in Salem from Thursday, Jan. 25, to Monday, Jan. 29.


Christo’s Pizzeria and Lounge on Thursday, Jan. 25, will host a performance by saxophonist and bandleader Idit Shner. She will be joined by Keith Brown on piano, Garrett Baxter on bass and Dae Bryant on drums.

“An active performer of both jazz and classical music, Idit has played in various distinguished venues in the United States and abroad, such as The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Center in New York,” an event listing said. “Her latest project, Mhondoro, blends Zimbabwean folk music and American jazz. Mhondoro released their first album, Heatwave, in 2022 and are about to release their second album soon.”

Tickets are $18 and can be bought online. The restaurant is located at 1108 Broadway St. NE.

Marc Cohn, singer of “Walking in Memphis” will perform at the Elsinore Theatre on Friday, Jan. 26.

“Rooted in the rich ground of American rhythm and blues, soul and gospel and possessed of a deft storyteller’s pen, he weaves vivid, detailed, often drawn-from-life tales that evoke some of our most universal human feelings: love, hope, faith, joy, heartbreak,” the event description said.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets start at $39, and are available online.

On Sunday, Salem Symphonic Winds will host an afternoon of jazz exploration, including “Concerto for Saxophone,” “Melodious Thunk,” “Strike Up the Band,” and more. 

Local saxophonist Randy Kem will solo in the concerto, and the other pieces celebrate the range of the genre, including “Cats Tales” which traverses the Jazz scene in New York City.

The concert will be from 3-5 p.m. at South Salem High School’s Rose Auditorium, 700 Howard St. S.E. Tickets range from $5-$25, and are available online.

Listen to the sounds of Shakespeare-era music on Monday, Jan. 29, courtesy of the Baltimore Consort. The ensemble founded in 1980 was previously awarded Top Classical-Crossover Artist by Billboard. Its Salem show is part of Chemeketa Community College’s Acclaimed Artist Series.

“Baltimore Consort has explored early English, Scottish, and French popular music, focusing on the relationship between folk and art song and dance. Their interest in early music of English/Scottish heritage has also led them to delve into the rich trove of traditional music preserved in North America,” according to an event listing.

The show takes place Monday from 7:30-9 p.m. at Chemeketa’s College Theatre Auditorium, 4000 Lancaster Dr. N.E., Building 6. Tickets are $15-30 and can be bought online.

The largest international a cappella tournament for universities will have its Oregon quarterfinals at the Elsinore on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Competing groups come from Oregon State University, Linn-Benton Community College, Portland State University, Willamette University and the University of Oregon. First and second place will move on to the Western Semifinals in California.

Tickets start at $27 and are available online.


Comedian Ryan Hamilton will take to the Elsinore stage on Thursday, Jan. 25, having grown up in rural Idaho before gaining popularity in the New York stand-up scene.

Hamilton’s best known for this stand-up special on Netflix, “Happy Face,” and from appearances on late night television, including The Tonight Show and The Late Show.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Elsinore, located at 170 High St. S.E. Tickets start at $39, and are available online.

Brad Wenzel will perform at the Infinity Room on Friday, Jan. 26. The comedian is known for his “one-liners, dry delivery, and unassuming presence,” according to the event description.

Wenzel has done standup on Conan three times, and was featured on Netflix is a Joke Radio. His Infinity Room show is all ages, with doors at 7 p.m. and a show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Comics Gabriel Rutledge and Tyler Boeh of Portland will perform at Salem’s Historic Grand Theatre, on Saturday, Jan. 27. Rutledge is a past winner of the Seattle International Comedy Competition, and Boeh has placed in numerous competitions. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the show. It is all ages, but not clean.


Dr. Bob Reinhardt will talk about Oregon’s towns, like Detroit, which were displaced during dam-building in the 20th century.

The lecture, “The Atlas of Drowned Towns: Uncovering the Histories of Inundated Communities,”” will be at the Willamette Heritage Center on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 5:30 p.m. with light hors d’oeuvres and drinks. It will also be accessible over Zoom. Tickets are available online for $15. The Heritage Center is located at 1313 Mill St. S.E. 

First Taste Oregon

Winemakers, craft brewers, spirit distillers, artists and chefs will convene this weekend for First Taste Oregon

The event will also feature live music, a pop-up bar with demonstrations and commercial vendors, with a variety of items from butter boards to customized pirate hats.

It takes place Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center’s Jackman Long Building, 2330 N.E. 17th St.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for military and first responders. VIP passes, which are $40 for Friday and $50 for Saturday, include a commemorative event glass, complimentary tastes, special SWAG bags and entrance to the Swank Lounge that features catered eats and exclusive tastes and demonstrations, according to the event’s website.

Roller derby doubleheader

Cherry City Roller Derby’s Renegades and 8 Wheel Assassins will both compete on Saturday, Jan. 27, against Tacoma’s Dockyard Derby Dames.

Food and beverages will be available at the family-friendly event. It’s held at Cherry City Roller Derby, 1335 Madison St. N.E.

Tickets are $12 presale, $15 at the door and $16 with a credit card. Children 5 and under get in free. A $30 family pass includes two tickets, plus all kids in a household under 13.

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. The Renegades’ bout begins at 4:30 p.m. and the 8 Wheel Assassins begin at 7 p.m.

Those interested in volunteering can email [email protected]. Admission is free for volunteers.


  • Feb. 1 Guitar show with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai.
  • Feb. 3 Polar plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics Oregon.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.

Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.