What's in a name?
by Rob Clay
We decided to find out after enjoying a show at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien last month. "What's In A Name" was the theme of show by Silver Sounds Northwest, the Burien area retired seniors choir group, where they focused on songs with girls and boys names, mostly from the '50s and '60's. Next week the parent choral group, NW Associated Arts, will present two shows. Spring is in the Air and On the Water. It will happen because of some important people.
What IS in a name? Specifically, the names behind the show. The folks who make it go. Not just the singers but the producers. The part you mostly don't see.
Lisa Eastman NWAA social media director
Lisa Eastman, a Mt. Rainier grad and currently the director of marketing for NW Associated Arts choral group, has a degree in interior design. Her adept skills with social media make this story possible. Without her ability fewer people would know about this wonderful collection of community singers. Lisa also loves to sing in the chorus and likes singing in French even more.
Dr. Ryan Ellis, NWAA director
Nothing keeps the glue in the system more than Dr. Ryan Ellis, who hails from Bermuda and Massachusetts but originally grew up in Louisiana. Dr. Ellis currently teaches and directs choral music at Seattle Pacific University. When Dr. Ellis is not doing that, he's directing music for the St. Margaret's Episcopal church in Bellevue. Where he finds the time to also lead the NW Associated Arts choirs is a mystery even to him.
Paul Hawkins, SilverSounds director
Paula Hawkins is known to many in the Highline area as a teacher in the school district. Now retired, Paula directs the SilverSounds group within the NW Associated Arts. She and her husband Marty perform as a duet in some shows. Paula is the co-founder of the Burien Coalition for the Arts and also directs the hand bell choir at the Southminster Presbyterian church in Des Moines. It was her love of singing and performing as a youth that led to her involvement with NWAA. She helped develop SilverSounds and YouthSounds.
Kirstin Shaffer, YouthSounds director
Singing comes easy for Kerstin Shaffer who teaches music to middle school kids. She taught music at Glendale Lutheran School (where the Choral Sounds holds rehearsals). Kerstin's daughter Kayleigh holds a degree in music education from St. Olaf College. She will accompany the YouthSounds concert, Spring is in the Air, slated for 2 p.m. at the Glendale Lutheran church at 13455 2nd Avenue SW in Burien May 18.
Jaxen Hedberg and Jenny Mason are no less important. Both make things happen. Jaxen, a Tyee High grad has worked with the Hi-Liners youth chorus, managed NWAA youth choir and is the consummate stage manager, directs the lighting, call times and makes the show happen when he is not actually singing. Jaxen has an ear for the music and hopes you do too.
Jennifer Mason, NWAA president
Jenny Mason is the board president of NWAA. It is a family affair. Her dad Jim Mason sings in ChoralSounds and VocalSounds. Jenny works in Montessori education. When not teaching, she does the job not many want -- the paperwork that goes with any organization.
SilverSounds was developed to give everyone a chance to sing. Don Dorres, 92, can claim to be the most senior member. Maureen Knight and Ferd Reichlin have been with the group since 1984.
Don Dorres, 92, is oldest choral member
We would be remiss if we did not note the other board members and staff who are very much needed to keep bringing this community the excellent choral music we enjoy. They are: Ashley Griffith, Tina Smith, Patti Davies, Kate Losleben, Alana Hammer, Shirley Miller, Bill Muckerheide, Helen Murphy, Linda Plett, Fran Reid, Shawn Sisson, Donna West, Paul Bauer and Chris Henshaw. .
The new shows coming this week are Spring is in the Air noted above and On The Water set for 2 p.m. at the Highline Performing Arts Center, 401 S. 152nd Street in Burien. The NW Associated Arts group is "proudly funded by local businesses and supporters, including The City of Burien, 4Culture, and the Tagney Jones Foundation" www.nwassociatedarts.org for more information.
Dr. Ryan Ellis