Things are popping at the symphony
When you have lunch with Mary Gates and Betty Huff, you have to accept a periodic interruption from friends of theirs. At Indochine recently, where Mary ordered a shrimp dish with a five-star degree of hotness, and Betty a more demure Thai salad, we gnoshed and talked symphony and the exciting pops program planned for August 13. Now and again, someone they knew would drift by the table (Mark Clirehugh, then Peggy Laporte) to say hello.
The very good reason for this is that these two women are among the leaders and shakers in town who makes things happen. Mary, one of our first mayors, then long-time city councilperson, is the new director of the Federal Way Symphony. Betty is the capable public relations person.
I've have to tell you: if you did not know much about the symphony orchestra here before now, look out town!
With Music Director/Conductor A. Brian Davenport, who is celebrating his 25th year as symphony leader, expect to hear great things, beginning with their special program with Dee Daniels and a program of music of "Great Ladies of Swing" and the 60-piece orchestra with favorites from Broadway to Hollywood.
This is going to be a fabulous night for Federal Way. I have heard Dee Daniels sing, years ago in Vancouver and before she gained her international reputation. I was thrilled to be in the audience of the small club listening to this wonderful singer. When she appears here in a few weeks, she will give "the jazz aficionado an ultimate treat-jazz served up with bodied silky tones that soar to the height and capture the depth of her four-octave range. She easily conjures up images of such singers as Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Page, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday," Betty tells us. I know she is right, for I have listened and enjoyed. You'll hear There'll Be Some Changes Made, Fever, Ella Medley, God Bless The Child, Sweet Georgia Brown, Send in The Clowns, and Mack The Knife.
The concert will be at the Dumas Bay Center, 3200 S.W. Dash Point Road. Tickets are $50 for reserved seating for adults and $40 for seniors and disabled. There will be light refreshments served at tables for four. A beverage service will be available. Call 253-529-9857 for tickets.
You can thank Lexus of Tacoma at Fife, Merrill Lynch, Noon Rotary Club of Federal Way, Pete von Reichbauer and King County Community Development and the City of Federal Way lodging tax for the evening.
Somewhere in our future is a performing arts center and Mary Gates is likely to be a factor is making it happen. The impetus for this began about 30 years ago, when wine-and- cheese shop operator and bon vivant Ross Davis (and I) began wandering around the community trying to get people interested in building something here that was the local equivalent of the famous Wolf Trap performing arts venue in Virginia (close to Washington, D.C.). We collected a little money, not enough to get it in the air, and it eventually sank like an underinflated dirigible. But it will happen, I believe, and people like my luncheon companions will make it so.
Mary's husband, Bill, must have been worried about what Mary would do with her boundless enthusiasm after she left he city council, so she said "Maybe you could think of the arts as a vehicle to bring the community together."
Mary had already spearheaded the new transit facility here after years of work. As she says, "it is not petite." She loves to lift a heavy load. At the same time, in her self-effacing way, she credits pete von Reichbauer and Julia Patterson for doing good things for the pops academy and school symphony programs.
Given the changing enthic mix of the community, along with it comes a diversity of artistic opportunity. Imagine an international music event. Mary Gates does.
But on Aug. 13, do this. Treat yourself to an evening of jazz music by Dee Daniels and the Federal Way Symphony.