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July 3, 2014

The Lookout: BluesCruise offers melodies on the Merrimack

The summer’s first Newburyport BluesCruise will set sail on Saturday night.

The New Orleans-themed event will feature jazz, blues and Cajun-flavored music from singer Henri Smith and saxophonist Amadee Castenell.

A native of New Orleans, Smith was a frequent emcee at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival who has collaborated with a number of famous musicians. He moved to Massachusetts after losing his home to Hurricane Katrina. Castenell has recorded and toured with several stars, including Paul McCartney, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello and Billy Joel.

Smith’s “Friends and Flavours Band” for the evening will also feature percussionist Charles Burchell, Zwe Bell LePere on upright bass, “Ben S.” on keyboards, and Joseph Laite on lead and slide guitar.

Tickets are $34 in advance and $38 on the day of, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Shirley Lewis “Living the Blues” Foundation. The nonprofit organization continues Lewis’ legacy of performing the blues as a means of healing those in need.

Saturday’s cruise departs at 7 p.m. from Plum Island Point. To purchase tickets, visit www.newburyportbluescruise.com; Dyno Records, 1 Middle St., Newburyport; or Captain’s Fishing Parties, Plum Island Point.

Additional BluesCruises are scheduled for Saturday, July 26, and Sunday, Aug. 31.

Open mikes to spotlight local youths

A Newburyport teen, Dylan Wack, is one of the emcees of a new community open mike at Pingree School in Hamilton.

Every Wednesday evening in July, middle and high school students from across the region are invited to perform instrumental or vocal music, dance, poetry, rap, hip-hop, comedy or improv. Youths can perform solo or in groups.

Microphones, amplifiers, a drum set and keyboards will all be provided. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, beach chairs and picnic dinners for the events, which will be held outside in the Hedge Garden at 6:30 p.m. Sign-ups start at 6.

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