Artfully Edmonds: Young people who make a community proud

Two Edmonds-area high school jazz ensembles are heading to the prestigious “Essentially Ellington Festival” for which concerted fund-raising efforts are underway.

Jazz performance education for young people is exploding in Edmonds right now, and many Edmonds-area students are preparing for the moments in their lives when they take the stage.

With Unathi Machyo (Edmonds-Woodway High School) winning the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival “Solo Vocalist” award this past month; the DeMiero Jazz Fest for K-12 vocal jazz performance taking place this weekend; and the Edmonds Woodway and Mountlake Terrace High Schools earning their way into the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition in New York (Facebook page) the community is busting with pride for our accomplished students.

Unathi with renowned vibraphonist Stefon Harris.

Artfully Edmonds’ lead paragraphs this week will feature all of the information that you will need to support and encourage these young people and their families as they ready for their big moments on regional and national stages.

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Jazz up your calendar!

DeMiero Jazz Fest — the only one of its kind in the nation — returns for an Edmonds-Kind-Of Welcome the first weekend in March.

March 3-5   DeMiero Jazz Festival for vocal jazz performance, downtown Edmonds

March 7       Side-by-Side ~ Essentially Ellington fundraising event

March 17     Hot Java Cool Jazz ~  EWHS and MTHS High Schools

May 11-13   Essentially Ellington High School Competition, New York

May 20       Jazz Connection, sponsored by Edmonds Daybreaker Rotary


New York! New York! 

These Edmonds-Woodway High School students are on “The Road to Ellington” to take part in Essentially Ellington Festival 2017.

Congratulations to Edmonds Woodway High School and Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz programs for being selected to participate in the prestigious Essentially Ellington Festival, which will be held in New York City in mid-May.

Full details of fundraising efforts to get these kids on their way are included in this week’s column. There are many fun, lively, community-oriented events being planned by both of our “The Road to Ellington” high schools, so continue reading to find the event that fits your budget, adds value to your life, and gives a travel boost to these young people:

For instance, My Edmonds News publisher Teresa Wippel announced in her column this week that 10 percent of all subscriptions and donations submitted to this community news source between now and April 30, 2017 will be donated to the Essentially Ellington fund-raising efforts of both high schools.

Mountlake Terrace High and Edmonds Woodway High will participate in Starbucks’ sponsored “Hot Java Cool Jazz”

Edmonds-Woodway High School 

The EWHS jazz combo performed on KING-5 TV this past week and all of the students participated at the Lionel Hampton Festival on the University of Idaho campus this past month as part of “The Road to Ellington” activities, according to Hafford.

Edmonds Woodway High School (EWHS) has set up a “GoFundMe” page to offset travel expenses to New York. My Edmonds News readers are being invited by EWHS parent Leigh-Ann Hafford, a trip chaperone, to donate generously to this fund. At press time the fund had raised $1,580 of their $35,000 goal.

Tuesday, March 7
7:30 p.m.

“Side-by-Side” performance at:
Edmonds Woodway High School
7600 121th St. SW

EWHS Philharmonic Orchestra

The philharmonic orchestra, led by the orchestra director Karen Helseth, will play a movement of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite and the Jazz 1 band, led by jazz band director Jake Bergevin, will play an Ellington arrangement of the same piece.

Dessert will be served during the “Side-by-Side” fundraiser, with a minimum $10 donation suggested.  Tickets will be available at the door.

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Mountlake Terrace High School


Saturday, March 11
5 p.m.

Building Bridges Dinner Gala

Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th St. S.W.

With comedian Brad Upton providing the laughs, what fundraiser could be more fun? Add a dinner (no-host bar) and auction that supports the high school’s music and sports programs, and obviously the MTHS Booster Clubs are showing classy style in their support of these fine New York-bound musicians.

Remember your high school field trips and highlights? Pay-It-back for these kids! Tickets for the gala are found at this link.

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Saturday, March 25
Starts at 10 a.m.

Mattress Sale

Mountlake Terrace High School
21801 44th Ave. W.

This is a fundraising trend that is sweeping the nation – and with good reason! Mattress sales! Do you need new, fresh mattresses for your guest room, rentals, or your church community’s help-the-homeless efforts?

The information event tab for this “The Road to Ellington” event are on the MTHS Music Boosters Band, Choir, Orchestra Facebook page.

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Diamond Knot Brewery

Artfully Edmonds learned this morning that the MTHS Boosters voted last night to hold a fundraising event at Diamond Knot Brewery (621 Front St., Mukilteo) event before the Essentially Ellington competition. Check in with this column each week for “The Road to Ellington” details as they are released.

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Edmonds will be invaded by The Pirates of Penzance on March 11 and everyone seems overjoyed!

Upcoming Events Around Town!

Sell Out Alert!

Saturday, March 11
7:30 p.m.

Pirates of Penzance

Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)
410 4th Ave. N.

New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players’ production of Pirates of Penzance is heading toward ECA for what The New York Times describes as “an endearing production with high musical standards and spirited performances.”

Be honest! Don’t you want to join this band of swashbuckling buccaneers, bumbling British bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightfully dotty “model of a modern Major-general” for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall? (This high-spirited musical theatre masterpiece is performed in its original format.)

Who doesn’t know the story

“On the coast of Cornwall, a band of tenderhearted pirates celebrate the coming of age of Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday. Now, Frederic has vowed to devote his life to the extermination of piracy – until a ludicrous leap year snag threatens to keep him apprenticed to the pirates for life! Throw in a bevy of beauties, a brash Pirate King, the delightfully stuffy Major-General Stanley and you’ve got a delightful nonsensical evening.”


ECA is a proud member of TeenTix, and offers $5 tickets to teens at the Box Office on the day of this performance, pending availability. To become a TeenTix member, register at

For non-teen tickets call the ECA Box Office at 425-275-9595, or go online to this ticket link

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The Steel Magic Northwest organization is readying for one more showcase event.

Wednesday, March 15
7 p.m.

Steel Magic Northwest
Edmonds Adventist Church
8625 196th St. S.W.

This event was posted on the My Edmonds News page a few days ago, so we hope you have it noted. Steel Magic Northwest, led by executive director Gary Gibson, is one more incredible music outlet for our Edmonds-area young people.

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March 17 will be a big night for young people attending ECA’s first “Teen Night” event.

More for Teens!
Friday, March 17
6 p.m.

Teen Night and Niyaz featuring Azam Ali

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

On Friday, March 17, teens, their families and friends are invited to Edmonds Center for the Arts’ Teen Night, in connection with ECA sponsored event, Niyaz, featuring Azam Ali.  

ECA’s Teen Night Schedule

6-6:30 p.m.
Pre-Show Talk: Feminism in the East

6:30-7:30 p.m.
Complimentary ECA reception for teens and their guests

7:30-9:30 p.m.
ECA Presents: Niyaz featuring Azam Ali

The performance group, Niyaz has been hailed by The Huffington Post as “an evolutionary force in contemporary Middle Eastern music,” and has created a 21st century global trance tradition by seamlessly blending medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from their native Iran and its surrounding countries in the Persian Gulf.

Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada Niyaz is led by frontwoman Azam Ali, who is of Iranian heritage and Indian upbringing. At ECA, Niyaz will perform as an electric/acoustic quintet and feature a classically-trained whirling dervish. Their pre-show talk Feminism in the East, which is open to the public, will explore gender inequality, the growing feminist movement in the East, and how that relates to the global feminist movement.

Teen Tix

Teens (ages 13-19) are invited to register for TeenTix passes free-of-charge at to take advantage of future $5 Teen Tix pricing. However, ECA will honor the $5 ticket price for all teens this particular night.

RSVP to ECA’s Teen Night by contacting Gillian Jones, Director of Programming, at or 425-275-9483.

Regular admission (non-teen) tickets may be purchased in advance through the ECA Box Office at 425-275-9595, or in-person the day of the show.

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Saturday, March 18
3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Contata Memoria

Trinity Lutheran Church
6215 196th St. SW

The ever-popular Sno-King Community Chorale is expected to draw a crowd to Trinity Lutheran Church for its commemoration performance and the West Coast premier of Karl Jenkins’ Cantata Memoria, For the Children.

This work was commissioned to commemorate the tragedy that occurred 50 years ago in Aberfan, Wales, when a mudslide wiped out the town of Aberfan and killed 116 children and adults.

The Sno-King Community Chorale will also dedicate this concert to the families in Oso who, exactly 3 years ago, suffered the same type of catastrophic event.

This concert will feature several soloist including Baritone Jacob William Hebert and Soprano Jenner Bromagen.

The mayors of Edmonds, Arlington and Darrington, respectively Dave Earling, Babara Tolbert and Dan Rankin are expected to address the audiences of each performance.

You can obtain tickets by calling 206.940.8049 or by visiting the event’s ticket outlet at this link.

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Last Call!

Theatre District News

Both Edmonds’ playhouses close the doors on their current productions Sunday, March 5, and we want to make sure that our readers do not miss an opportunity to see what has entertained hundreds of theatre enthusiasts over the Valentine’s season.

Character actress Cindy Giese French breaks the applause-o-meter during opening night of Driftwood Players’ production “Enchanted April”, which plays through March 5

Playing at The Driftwood Theatre (950 Main St.) is Enchanted April by Matthew Barber. Reviewed by My Edmonds News in this feature, Artfully Edmonds handed the “Tony” award to on-the-boards sweetheart Cindy Giese French. Anything but a sweetheart in her character role as “Mrs. Graves” Ms. French, who portrayed a fading literary luminary minced no words in speaking her mind as four women, strangers to each other, head off from post-WWI London for marriage and relationship respites that are filled with hope, friendship, and one of the best stage sets Artfully Edmonds has seen in community theatre.

Tickets for Enchanted April are available at the Driftwood Players link, or by calling the theatre at 425.774.9600

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Veteran actor, Michael Gene McFadden takes the lead in The Phoenix Theatre’s production of “The Last Romance”

At The Phoenix Theatre, the house is getting ready to draw the curtains on The Last Romance by Joe DiPietro, directed by Eric Lewis. The final performance of this wildly successful production is Sunday, March 5 at 2 p.m.

In the My Edmonds News Review of The Last Romance stage veteran Michael Gene McFadden was given the “Tony” nod for his portrayal of besotted Raphael “Ralph” Bellini, a dapper widower whose only crime is to seek out love from a woman whose personal life is called into question.


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Sunday, March 26
10 a.m.-5 p.m.

A books and beer bash!

Friends of the Library (Friends) and Gallagher’s Where-U-Brew are planning an unusual pairing: books and beer. All for a good cause, according to president of Friends, Luke Distelhorst who tells us that Gallagher’s owners the Kretzler family are holding a fundraising event to benefit Edmonds Public Library.

On Sunday, March 26 the Kretzlers will donate a portion of their sales to The Friends. This fundraiser augments the Friends’ main fundraising event, the annual book sales. The Kretzlers will also provide branded gifts, book baskets and other fun items that will be added to raffled gift baskets to benefit the library.

— By Emily Hill

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at

  1. It’s inspiring to know the Edmonds area is filled with so much talent. Thank you Emily for keeping us up-to-date on performances, accolades and opportunities to support our local artists and performers.

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