Karl Marlantes

Karl Marlantes, a graduate of Seaside High School, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Marine who fought in the Vietnam War, was a speaker at a previous Tillamook Head Gathering.

Literature, music and visual arts will be celebrated at the inaugural Tillamook Head Gathering designed to benefit Seaside High School students participating in those activities.

The event will start at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center with a silent auction featuring about 25 works by local artists.

Karl Marlantes, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and Seaside High School graduate, will be a guest speaker. Marlantes, a former Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, will discuss his book, “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War,” a New York Times bestseller published in 2010, and his memoir, “What It Is Like to Go to War,” published in 2011.

Bill Moyers featured Marlantes in connection with his nonfiction work in 2012.

Mark Mizell, a Seaside High School English teacher and one of the event organizers, praised Marlantes’ work, saying his memoir is “incredibly frank, incredibly unbiased.”

Writer Peter Lindsey, a Cannon Beach author who also graduated from Seaside High School, will accompany Marlantes as a guest speaker.

Lindsey was teaching at the high school and working as a lifeguard in Cannon Beach in the 1960s when he, too, was drafted to fight in Vietnam.

The men will share and discuss their writing and then hold a question-and-answer session with the audience.

In addition to literature, the event will highlight music with performances by several people, including local talent Dave Quinton and Jackson Andrews; John Mersereau, of Arch Cape; trio Sydney Morrisson, Alyssa Smith and Seaside High School Choir Director Vanessa Unger; and Kelsey Mousley, accompanied by her band. Mousley also is a Seaside graduate, and her band is based in Portland.

Mizell’s son, Mike Mizell, will emcee the event. Local restaurants will provide hors d’oeuvres.

The cost to attend is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets are available at Beach Books, Seaside Coffee House and the high school.

“All the proceeds from this will benefit literary, visual and musical arts enrichment at Seaside High School,” Mark Mizell said.

Enrichment funds will go primarily toward helping individual students attend field trips and have access to various opportunities, such as performing in Disneyland with the choir or attending festivals and competitions, he said.

“Back when I first started teaching at Seaside High School, there was an actual field trip fund, and now there is no fund for that kind of stuff,” Mark Mizell said. “We’ve just had to cut back. ... It’s become tougher and tougher to come up with money for enrichment.”

The Tillamook Head Gathering Organization Committee has been meeting since April to plan the event. The committee is informal at this point, Mizell said, although members hope to eventually build up an enrichment fund so it becomes self-perpetuating.

The committee intends to make the gathering an annual event and the fund’s primary revenue source.

Tillamook Head was chosen for the title because “when people think of a particular place that sort of epitomizes the area, Tillamook Head just seems to be it,” Mark Mizell said.

“There is something near and dear about that rock formation for a lot of people,” he added. “It’s kind of cool because people in Seaside see it, people in Cannon Beach see it. ... It’s a good symbol for what us north coasters are.”

For more information, call the school at 503-738-5586 or visit the Tillamook Head Gathering Facebook page.


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