Fearsome to Friendly:
Our History with the Orca

Many in the Northwest consider the orca to be our region’s unofficial mascot. But how did we come to love orcas so much in the first place? Environmental and International History Professor Jason Colby will be joining us on June 5 (just in time for Washington’s Orca Awareness Month!) to take us on a deep dive into our society’s intricate history with killer whales. In the meantime, Colby sat down with Town Hall’s Alexander Eby to discuss all things orca—from etymology to questions about captivity to the rituals of our resident orca pods.

 AE: I wanted to ask you about the title of your book, Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator. Can you tell me a little bit about that moniker, ‘the ocean’s greatest predator?’

JC: Well, the orca is really the undisputed apex predator of the ocean. When it comes to prey, they’re specialist hunters. You’ve got so-called “transient” killer whales that focus on marine mammals: seals, sea lions, and even some smaller baleen whales. You have the salmon-eating specialists that are famous in our area and others that focus on sharks or stingrays. But everywhere in the world orcas eat what they want and nothing preys upon them.

AE: Are there any reported cases of orcas harming humans?

JC: There’s one case of a young surfer who was bitten on the leg by a killer whale, but it was probably a case of mistaken identity—the whale probably thought he was a seal or sea lion. There was also a famous Arctic expedition in the early 20th century where a photographer was on the ice and a pod of orcas approached him and started breaking the ice apart. It’s possible they were just curious. It’s possible they were investigating the expedition’s dogs, thinking they were seals or sea lions. The photographer ran across the ice and got away safely, but that account was then published all over the world. It created this perception of the killer whale as an extraordinarily dangerous and formidable predator. There were certainly stories among sealers in Seattle and Victoria of dangerous encounters with killer whales, but no documented attacks that seemed intentional.

AE: If they don’t typically harm humans, what earned them a name like “killer whale?”

JC: The origin of the name almost certainly comes from the Basque and then Spanish and Portuguese assassino de baleias, or “whale killer,” which was likely transposed in English as “killer whale.” That name would have originated among fishermen and whalers who saw orcas attacking much larger whales. If you step back to a period prior to when we saw these animals with affection and imagine what they looked like to the humans who had never seen them before—immense predators with jet-black skin and wolf-like teeth—it’s understandable that we would find them frightening. Humans have a long history of being unsettled by sharp-toothed predators. It must have been pretty easy to imagine that we could wind up on the menu.

We use the name orca now, and we’ve convinced ourselves that it sounds friendlier and more complimentary than killer whale. But the name appears in the works of many 19th and early 20th century writers from a time when we still saw orcas as dangerous. These writers knew their Latin, and dubbing the whales “orca” was meant to convey a much more frightening image. In Latin, Orcinus Orca essentially means ‘demon from the Netherworld.’

AE: That is rather evocative. But we don’t think of them that way anymore. What’s been responsible for the change in public opinion over the last few decades?

JC: Up until the early-to-mid 1960’s this was a species that was still considered a potential threat to human beings. More importantly, this was a species that was viewed as a threat to more valuable resources like salmon and seals, which were being harvested for profit. Orcas were considered a vermin species, much in the same context of wolves, bears, and cougars across North America. It wasn’t until the early to mid 1960’s when the encounters with live killer whales in captivity began to transform public opinion. Seattle is really at the heart of this story. On Pier 56 there was a private Seattle Marine Aquarium, which no longer exists today. The aquarium’s owner Ted Griffin was on a quest to befriend a killer whale.

AE: Was he one of the first ones to see orcas as intelligent creatures rather than just pests?

JC: There were others that were interested in observing them, but Griffin was the one who showed the world that they’re intelligent creatures and potentially friendly to people. Canadian fisherman up north accidentally caught a couple of killer whales in their nets, and Griffin figured out a way to build a floating cage around one of these whales and bring it down to Seattle. This hundreds-of-miles-long journey of this floating cage became front-page headline news, not just in Seattle but across the world. Griffin traveled with this whale, which had been named “Namu,” and they arrived in Seattle right before Seafair in 1965. And there was a massive celebration on the waterfront with a huge crowd gathered to welcome them.

 Namu became the first whale to ever perform for people in public—and perhaps even more important is that Griffin himself became the first human being, that we know of, to swim with a killer whale. This was a revelation to people, to scientists and naturalists and writers. Most people thought that if he got in the water with this animal it would tear him apart. Instead he befriended this animal and started performing with it. This relationship, this connection between Griffin and Namu, was really transformative to the way the world saw this predator.

AE: Because killer whales became such an icon in this context of captivity, there’s a complex discussion still going on about killer whales in captivity today. What’s your perspective on killer whales in captivity?

JC: So the purpose of writing my book was to almost be a prequel to the 2013 documentary Blackfish, which was very successful in focusing people’s attention on orca captivity. But the film was successful in part because people cared so much about orcas already. My aim was to tell the story of why we cared so much about orcas in the first place.

I always like to contextualize this historically. Keeping killer whales in captivity played a critical role in transforming people’s views of this animal, but obviously the context of the 1960’s and 70’s is different from today. I think that most scientists now would say that the research that can be done on these animals in captivity has been done, so it’s hard to make the argument that we need to keep killer whales in captivity to study them. But it’s worth remembering that most of the killer whales in captivity in North America are captive-bred. I don’t say that to diminish the animal rights question. Rather, I say it to point out that what happens with animals bred in captivity doesn’t have a lot of bearing on the survival of killer whales in the wild.

I worry that the focus on the moral question of captivity takes attention away from the overarching threats to wild killer whale populations. Our region’s resident killer whales used to number around 250 and now number at 76—and they’re probably in an extinction spiral. The biggest threats to killer whales aren’t aquariums or corporations in Orlando that are keeping a few orcas in captivity. With the growing prevalence of fisheries and pipelines, even here in the Northwest, there are factors that threaten killer whales on a much larger scale.

Food scarcity is a major issue due to growth of commercial fisheries and sport fishing. We also see pollution from increased tanker traffic contaminating their habitats—and even the noise from the tankers can be damaging. Orcas are acoustic animals, and the louder our waters get the more difficulty they have hunting and communicating. So as compelling as the moral question of captivity is to us, it’s not related to these factors which I believe are a much greater threat to the species.

AE: Is there something that you wish people understood about orcas?

JC: One of the things that struck me as I studied orcas is that they are extraordinarily close-knit socially. Our resident Northwestern pods are multi-generational and matriarchal, with extraordinarily long-lived “grandmothers” who can lead their families for nearly a hundred years. Over that time these killer whale pods have developed their own traditions, memories, and itineraries of this region.

For example, take the northern resident killer whales who travel between mid Vancouver Island and southeast Alaska. When they return to northern Vancouver Island in summer they visit these beaches—”rubbing beaches,” people call them—where they take turns rubbing up against these small round rocks. Their visits to this “whale spa” have been observed for generations.

And of course the southern residents have their own rituals. Probably their most famous one is the “greeting ceremony.” The southern residents have three distinct pods: J, K, and L. When the pods come together they line up abreast a few hundred yards apart and pause for a few minutes, then suddenly bolt forward into this large frolic. It’s really fascinating to watch.

They’re remarkably sophisticated animals with their own cultures, their own rituals, their own memories. And I do wonder how they interpret the changes that we’ve imposed on their ecosystem. It’s been transformed incredibly rapidly in a short period of time, and one wonders what they make of it.


Don’t miss Jason’s event on Tuesday, June 5. Get your tickets here.

Stay in the Loop; Hear it All

As part of the acoustic upgrades taking place during Town Hall’s renovation, we’re permanently installing the Hearing Loop system in all three of our performance spaces. To give us a better idea of how a Hearing Loop works—as well as how this critical system supports members of our community who experience hearing loss—we turn to Mike James, who serves on Town Hall’s Board of Directors. Mike spoke with Town Hall’s Alexander Eby about his history with hearing loss, and shared all the reasons why he passionately supports the Hearing Loop’s installation.

Town Hall’s platform is built on the idea that everyone deserves to be heard—and for audience members like Mike James, this philosophy has never been more literal. Mike has lived with hearing loss since his late 30’s. Though his hearing aids are sufficient for smaller events, he’s encountered difficulty fully engaging with the lectures and performances he loves when they’re held in larger halls. But Mike is still a frequent visitor to Town Hall’s events, and he’s been able to fully experience our programming thanks to our Hearing Loop system.

“I’m fortunate enough to live right across the street from Town Hall,” Mike explains. He regularly attends Town Hall’s programs, and the Hearing Loop has enabled him to participate on any given night in impassioned community conversations, civic discussions, and science lectures. “The beauty of the Hearing Loop system is that it just…happens. You can sit down in the audience along with everyone else, and the sound from the event is transmitted directly to your hearing aids.”

Hearing Loop systems wirelessly transmit sound through microphones on the stage, transforming hearing aids fitted with telecoil receivers—like the ones Mike wears—into in-the-ear loudspeakers. “It’s the quality of the sound that’s the most significant thing. You’re hearing the program with your hearing aids, so it’s adjusted specifically for your own levels of hearing loss. You can clearly hear what’s going on onstage, and at the same time you can be a part of the discussions going on around you.”

From his position on Town Hall’s Board of Directors, Mike has enthusiastically supported the permanent installation of the Hearing Loop system in Town Hall’s performance spaces. For other audience members experiencing hearing loss, this could make all the difference in the world. “A lot of people like me gave up on going to the theater or attending lectures because of the difficulty of hearing. That’s really overcome with the loop.”

To support audience members like Mike, we’re permanently outfitting our Great Hall, Downstairs, and the new West Room with their own Hearing Loop systems as part of Town Hall’s historic renovation. Accessibility is core to Town Hall’s design, and the Hearing Loop is a critical part of ensuring that members of our community who experience hearing loss will remain a part of the discussion.

“I was born in England, and I have relatives there. We’ve traveled together throughout Europe, and found that Hearing Loop systems over there are common. At museums, box offices—you name it, all of that is looped.” Town Hall is inspired by this broad accessibility, and we’re excited to be among the first organizations in our region to offer this technology to our community. “The great thing about Town Hall is that they’re one of the first institutions in Seattle to really pioneer this. It’s a tremendously positive change, and a real asset to Town Hall.”

To learn more about the Hearing Loop system, and about all the ways our new acoustic systems will transform Town Hall into a world-class performance hall, visit TownHallSeattle.org/HearItAll

Jazz on the Mountaintop—Summit in Seattle

On March 2, four jazz powerhouses gather for the Summit in Seattle—a first-ever performance together in this configuration, with no rehearsal or setlist! They come together, warm up, and then dive into an evening of collective improvisation, collaboration, and musical risk-taking. The event is the brainchild of Global Rhythms 2017-18 Co-Curator Daniel Atkinson, and represents a form of jazz he seldom sees represented in today’s musical landscape. Atkinson sat down for an interview with Town Hall’s copywriter, Alexander Eby, to discuss his vision.


AE: The Summit in Seattle is a pretty unusual event. What makes it so unique?

DA: The fact that it’s unusual is precisely why I put this event together. I envisioned the Summit as a way to get back to the true roots of jazz. The format goes back 100 years—a group of musicians at the top of their game with no setlist, listening to each other’s language and finding their own way to speak and respond to one another. It’s an arrangement that harkens back to the ritualistic traditions that define jazz as an art form.

AE: Can you tell me more about that?

DA: At its core, jazz is about musical risk-taking. Success is defined not by playing what’s written, but by taking those risks—by almost failing and then not. An artist becomes a conduit for the culture rather than a destination. They push themselves and their instrumental skills by understanding their relationship to the other artists. That’s why there’s no setlist. Jazz lives in the moment. Mistakes become opportunities to work out potentially new ideas. I want to give these guys a chance to express themselves and navigate that process together and ultimately have fun!

AE: Why put on a performance like this in Seattle?

DA: People in the Seattle jazz community want to promote equity. The Summit is my way of doing exactly that. I wanted to give these four master musicians of color a chance to collaborate with no restrictions and celebrate an art form with roots in West African and Afro-American music traditions.

AE: Is that what makes this concert a great fit for the Global Rhythms series?

DA: Exactly. The musical forms that define jazz, like syncopation and the blues scale, were introduced and popularized by Black artists in the early 1900’s. The context of jazz has changed over time to become more convenient for conspicuous consumption, but jazz began as a space for Black musical expression. It’s a style that (for a very short time) created spaces where a Black performer could be respected for the merit of their musical skill, not judged for their skin color.

AE: Could you give me an example of one of these spaces?

DA: Jam sessions are a prime example. In 1930’s New York, the jam session was an environment that tested a musician’s mettle. A Black musician could demonstrate his/her prowess, and if a White musician couldn’t answer the call, they would have to sit down and make way for someone who possibly could. Value was placed on the merit of musicianship—and bred a learning process. If you couldn’t match or surpass another musician’s skill one night, you went to the woodshed and came back when you felt ready to try again.

AE: And with four masters onstage at the Summit, improvising and adapting to one another is the name of the game.

DA: That’s right. There are two MacArthur Fellows in this group; they’re at the top of their game.

AE: These musicians come from a variety of backgrounds: jazz, hip-hop, R&B, soul. Do you think they’ll have trouble adapting to each other’s styles?

DA: You know, a lot of people have forgotten that those genres actually take their roots from the same place. Back in the early Jim Crow era, what we know as jazz was called “race music.” Eventually it was changed to “rhythm and blues” to make the music easier for White audiences to conspicuously consume, and finally became known as “rock and roll” when White artists took it over completely.

Jazz, gospel, blues, R&B, and hip-hop, are genres that retained certain elements of that progenitor—of “race music”—which were not transposed to rock and roll. The syncopation, the improvisation, the focus on self-expression and adapting to your fellow musicians instead of cutting and pasting ideas together in the spirit of improvisation to an audience that remains benevolently ignorant. This style has gone through so many identity changes that it’s no longer a Black art form, but ultimately the masters playing at the Summit do share a musical lineage—which begins first as a recognition of where it comes from and its uniquely Afro-American, cultural cache. That’s why it’s so important to me that Black musicians be given a space to express their mastery in an art form that is, at its roots, Black.

AE: Do you have any thoughts to prepare audiences for this show?

DA: This performance will be what it will be. Improvisation, risk—this is jazz at its core. As an audience member, you’re witnessing a space for four masters to collaborate and negotiate their process together in real time. It’s probably one of the only times you’re going to see anything like this—it’s an arrangement that just doesn’t happen very often anymore, as much as I wish it did. But I couldn’t bring the mountain down, so to speak, so I put together the Summit to bring the audience to the mountaintop.


Join us March 2 for this exciting collaboration!

Jonathan Talks to Jonathan

Jonathan Kauffman, a James Beard Award-winning writer, is returning to Seattle. The former restaurant critic at Seattle Weekly, he will be at West Seattle’s Westside School to discuss his new book, Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30 pm.

Jonathan recently sat down with Jonathan Shipley, Town Hall’s Marketing Manager, to discuss lentil casseroles, vegetarian cults, and the horror of carob.


JS: You lived in Seattle and now live in San Francisco. What’s different between each city’s food cultures?

JK: They’re really similar. There’s more money in San Francisco and so there are more high-end restaurants. The Chinese population is greater here, so there are better and more Chinese restaurants in San Francisco. Seattle’s got better seafood and, since it’s not as expensive as San Francisco, there’s more willingness to experiment in Seattle. They can try new things.

JS: What do you miss about Seattle?

JK: My family and my friends.

JS: What don’t you miss about Seattle?

JK: I like sunlight. I like that I don’t have to take Vitamin D supplements anymore.

JS: What inspired this new book of yours?

JK: I was having a meal in Seattle at The Sunlight Café on Roosevelt. I was being served steamed vegetable with tahini dressing, and whole wheat pastries, and veggie burgers and I was hit with a sudden sense of nostalgia. I grew up in the middle of Indiana. How did I grow up eating this food? How did lentil casseroles and stir fried vegetables with tofu and South African stews get there?

JS: What hippie food is your favorite?

JK: My reset meal is a big wok full of stir fried vegetables and tofu over brown rice.

JS: What hippie food do you detest?

JK: Carob is horrifying.

JS: Who was the most interesting interview subject in your book?

JK: Former members of the Source Family. They were members of a vegetarian cult in the 1960s and 70s under Father Yod. They dressed in white, lived in a mansion, were in a rock band (Ya Ho Wha 13), and earned their money off an organic vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles. They are pretty lovely people and are very positive about their time.

JS: What fact did you uncover in the book that most delights you?

JK: Tempeh [an Indonesian dish made by deep-frying fermented soybeans] was introduced by The Farm, at one time the biggest commune in America. The Farm, still in operation in Tennessee, have made three lasting contributions to the world: tempeh, home births, and radiation detection. I totally love them.


Whether you’re into granola or sprouts, co-ops or quinoa, Town Hall looks forward to hosting Kauffman at the Westside School. Join us!

Town Hall is Recruiting Neighborhood Steering Committee Members!

Poised on the edge of our highly-anticipated capital renovation, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to undertake a citywide initiative—the most ambitious, collaborative endeavor Town Hall has ever undertaken in its 18 years of ambitious, collaborative endeavors. And we can’t do it without you.

While our building is being renovated, we’ll turn Town Hall “Inside/Out.” We’re taking the programs you love from our historic stages and pouring them into neighborhoods across Seattle. With your help, our programming will be more community-led, more relevant, and more timely than ever.

We’re inviting 12-15 people from each of our Inside/Out neighborhoods to serve on Neighborhood Steering Committees, volunteering as formal advisers, ambassadors, and co-curators. Do you work or live in Phinney Ridge/Greenwood, University/Ravenna, Capitol Hill/Central District, or Columbia/Hillman City? Teach us about your neighborhood and work with us to develop hyper-local programs!

  • What topics and issues are most important to your community?
  • What can Town Hall add to the landscape?
  • What should the rest of Seattle know about your neighborhood?

If you are interested in collaborating with other community-minded folks, please click here to tell us more about yourself.

Questions, or want more details on the Neighborhood Steering Committees? Email our Community Programs Curator

Special Offer: Says You! on June 24 and 25

The wildly popular and entertaining live-radio quiz show Says You! returns to Town Hall on June 24 and 25! The show’s producers, Pipit and Finch, and local radio station KUOW have been longstanding partners here at Town Hall, and we’re excited to celebrate their 10th Seattle show with an exclusive Town Hall member discount.

Click here and use promo code STHmember to receive 10% off reserved seating (100 discounted tickets are available for each show date).

AND, you have the first opportunity to join the Says You! cast in a very special after-party—the next 50 members to make a donation of $250 or more to The Campaign for Town Hall will receive two complimentary tickets to the 1:30 pm matinee show on June 25 and two invitations to the private after-party. This is only available by making a new donation online (www.lovethistown.townhallseattle.org) or by phone at 206) 652.4255 x36. Help us renovate Town Hall and close our 20th century doors in style!

The Says You! live-taping kicks off a full week of celebrations (June 25 – 30) as we celebrate everything Town Hall has become and break ground on everything it will be. Keep an eye on your email for more information about the revelries!

Town Hall Past and Future

We’re just six months away from the beginning of Town Hall’s highly-anticipated renovation. As we prepare to revitalize our 100-year-old building, we are inviting our members to join us on February 26 at 2 p.m. for a celebration of this beautiful, unique space and its role in Seattle’s history. David Brewster (Town Hall’s founder), will be joined by Lawrence Kreisman (Historic Seattle), and Clint Pehrson (Town Hall Board of Directors), to tell the story of this place—formerly Seattle Fourth Church of Christian Science—and its transformation from an expression of 20th century religious community into a 21st century home for civic, intellectual, and cultural life.

David Brewster founded Town Hall Seattle, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com, and Folio: The Seattle Antheneaum. He will share the story of how this building became Town Hall’s home and the need he saw for a mid-sized, multi-disciplinary arts and civic center in Seattle.

Lawrence Kreisman has spoken eloquently about Town Hall’s Greek Revival building with its fluted column entrance and terra-cotta sheathing, and he has a particular interest in the showpiece of the sanctuary: the stained and leaded glass windows and dome, created by the Povery Brothers of Portland, Oregon. He will discuss these signature features and place the Povery Brothers’ work in context.

Clint Pehrson has practiced architecture in Seattle since 1980, specializing in facilities for cultural institutions—libraries, churches, civic, and arts organizations. In addition to being a current Town Hall Board member, he was one of the original investors who made it possible to purchase the building and create the Town Hall Seattle we know today.

After the program, you are invited for a behind-the-scenes tour of Town Hall.* In a century-old building, there are many interesting places to explore that you don’t normally see—from the organ loft, to backstage green rooms, and so much more. It is wonderful way to imagine what the renovation will mean for the future of the space and your future experience at Town Hall.

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS TODAY

*Tours on February 26th will be limited. After you reserve your ticket, look for your invitation (sent via email) two weeks before the event to secure your building tour space. We will be pleased to help you RSVP for one of our twice-monthly building tours if space does not allow you to participate in this one.

A Successful Talk of the Town!

Many thanks to everyone who came out on March 6 to support Town Hall at our 10th annual fundraising gala, Talk of the Town! We raised more than $115,000 to support the arts, education, humanities and civic programs we present all year long.

The evening began with a buzzy conversation in the Town Hall lobby, and then migrated to the Great Hall, where Executive Director Wier Harman, former Scholar-in-Residence and UW Professor David Montgomery, and writer/performer Hollis Wong-Wear kicked off the conversation with thoughtful examinations of “The Question” that kept guests talking throughout the evening:

Is there a physical place in your life which has greatly informed the kind of person you’ve become?  A place that helped you understand how you wanted to live your life, or whose values and character have become your own?”

After enthusiastically raising their paddles to support Town Hall, half of our guests departed for 12 simultaneous dinner parties in exclusive homes throughout the city, with each dinner featuring a pair of celebrity Seattleites (including former Governor Chris Gregoire, KING 5 News anchor Lori Matsukawa, sci-fi author Neal Stephenson, author Maria Semple, and Native American artist Louie Gong, and nearly two dozen others) and dinner prepared by an award-winning chef (Ethan Stowell of Tavolàta, Brandin Myett and Alex Dimitrijevic of La Bête, Holly Smith of Café Juanita, Kurt Timmermeister of Kurtwood Farms, and many others).

The rest of the party descended the staircase to “Talk of the Town Underground”—where our Downstairs space was transformed into the “13th home” for the evening.  Local luminaries including food writer/restaurateur Molly Wizenberg, artist/lyricist Geo, and Washington Bus Executive Director Toby Crittenden mingled while guests enjoyed custom cocktails from Oola Distillery, Sound Spirits, and Sun Liquor, food truck selections from Skillet, Marination Station, and Street Treats, and plenty of dancing!

Town Hall is deeply grateful to our event chair, board member Tom Robertson, and everyone who came and supported the event, including our generous corporate sponsors, The Boeing Company, Brighton Jones LLC, Casey Family Programs, and The Commerce Bank of Washington.

Check back soon as we announce the date of next year’s Talk of the Town, and we hope you’ll join us for an evening of sparkling conversation with some of Seattle’s most interesting personalities!

Town Music in Schools

Thousands of chamber music fans attend Town Hall’s popular Town Music series each season, but few people know that the series has another large, enthusiastic audience…whose bedtime falls around the same time as curtain rises. Series curator Joshua Roman had a dream to share his passion for music with student audiences, so he created the Town Music in Schools program in 2011 so that young music fans can take part in the live music experience, even if they can’t stay up late. Since the program began, more than 1,100 K-12 students have had the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most talented classical musicians.

The most recent Town Music in Schools excursion brought New York’s Enso String Quartet to southeast Seattle’s Graham Hill Elementary School. Nearly 400 K-5 students packed into the auditorium, whispering with excited anticipation as they waited for the musicians to take the stage.

During their evening performance at Town Hall, the Grammy-winning Enso String Quartet performed rarely heard pieces by opera masters Puccini, Verdi, and Strauss—but for their performance at Graham Hill, the group prepared an accessible, educational program tailored especially for young ears. Much to the delight of the students, they kicked off with the theme song from The Simpsons, which sparked a gleeful murmur of recognition throughout the crowd. Cellist Richard Belcher explained that the iconic Danny Elfman piece was a good example of how music creates a mood—in this case, playful, fun and even funny!

In addition to lighthearted, recognizable tunes like “Happy Birthday,” Enso wove in pieces by Mozart, Haydn, Bartok, and Ljova to illustrate the three essential ingredients of music: rhythm, harmony, and melody. (They also snuck in lessons about more complex concepts like dynamics and syncopation.) The students responded enthusiastically, as one boy played “air cello” while another conducted from the front row.

The mother of a third-grade student remarked, “I thought it was incredible. My daughter was enthralled…the kids learned a lot, but [Enso] kept them entertained.”

The goals of the Town Music in Schools program include “demystifying” classical music, inspiring and informing young people about the dedication it takes to excel in music and other life endeavors. Graham Hill’s students are dedicated—the fourth and fifth grade music students won a district-wide prize for the most time spent practicing their instruments—but they got a real sense for the discipline required of a professional musician. Graham Hill staff member Yedit Bereket said, “I know they left inspired, like, ‘Hey, I want to do that!’”

After the visit, Graham Hill’s Music Specialist, Cherrie Adams, said, “I can teach the students about music and play recordings for them, but nothing can take the place of a live concert.  We really appreciate Town Hall partnering with us to give our students an inspirational and educational experience.”

The next Town Music in Schools visit with Joshua Roman and Andrius Zlabys will take place at Washington Middle School on Monday, April 21. Roman and Zlabys perform at Town Hall on Tuesday, April 22 at 7:30pm

Talk of the Town Underground

For the 10th Anniversary of our annual fundraising gala Talk of the Town, we’re adding a twist and taking the event “underground.” To mix it up, Town Hall becomes this year’s 13th home for a fun, festive evening of drinks, food truck selections, and local DJs. Start the evening by joining all Talk of the Town guests in Town Hall’s lobby for a cocktail hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a 6 pm program in the Great Hall. Once upstairs, you’ll enjoy mini Ignite!-style talks — short and sweet like their namesake, they’re sure to be enlightening.

At 7 p.m., Underground guests move to the Downstairs space at Town Hall to enjoy beats by local DJs, mingle with local Seattle luminaries, and enjoy a delectable selection of small plates from some of Seattle’s best food trucks. Skillet, Marination Station, Street Treats, Sound Spirits, OOLA Distillery, and Sun Liquor will be at this year’s Underground. Notable personalities include Molly Wizenberg, Lindy West, Geo, Kate Lebo, Toby Crittenden, Hollis Wong-Wear,  Michelle Quisenberry, John Richards, Marco Collins, DJ Daps1, DJ Bret Law, and more. You won’t want to miss this event, a distillation of all the great ideas from the Great Hall, brought downstairs for a deeper dive.

Presented by: Town Hall, Washington Bus and Ignite! Seattle. Sponsored by Uber, Dry Soda, and Hilliard’s Beer.
Tickets: $50-$60; ticket price includes all food, non-alcoholic beverages and one signature cocktail; additional alcoholic beverages are only $5. A portion of the ticket price is a charitable donation to benefit Town Hall.

BUY A TICKET NOW

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