Joel DeJong, founder of the South End’s Crowdsource Choir, a non-religious and non-commitment-orientated singing group, remembers a night in 2017 on the light rail train. He and his wife were on their way home around midnight after seeing the famed rock group U2 at CenturyLink Field with a crowd of many thousands. But on the train, DeJong noticed, everyone was on their phones, removed from one another. So, like one does, he started singing Bono’s lyrics.
On a cold still night in Columbia City, two of Seattle’s premier jazz combos displayed their grasp of contemporary elegance to a fortunate group of perceptive spectators.
Soprano sax sensation Kate Olson and her K.O. Ensemble assumed the bandstand of The Royal Room first. They began to engage the audience immediately with Olson’s light and coherent original compositions “Pear Shaped” and “To The Left.” Olson’s straightforward swinging arrangements provided a solid platform for her clear and articulate delivery.
Cutting-edge modern jazz sensation Marquis Hill and his inventive Blacktet ensemble mesmerized a sold out Royal Room as one of the years most highly-anticipated performances of the Earshot Jazz Festival.
In August, Columbia City and Hillman City received an historic honor: a prestigious Arts & Cultural District designation from Mayor Jenny Durkan. Now forever linked—and not just by Rainier Avenue—the two diverse, multicultural neighborhoods, which are comprised of about 13,000 people, can further showcase their dozens of art and music venues—from the Columbia City Theater to the Royal Room and the soon-to-be-opened Black and Tan Hall. To get a sense of what this new arts and culture designation means for the area exactly, the South Seattle Emerald reached out to Kathy Fowells, Director of SEEDArts, which was one of the many organizations responsible for getting the initiative to the Mayor’s office. Fowells discussed what the future holds for the neighborhoods, what an arts app might look for them and much more.