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Local High School String Quartet to Join Touring Beatles musical

By Andy Nagle

EWHS Quartet 2017

EDMONDS, WA (9/29/2017) When the touring show "In My Life - A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles" returns to the Edmonds Center, be on the lookout for two quartets -- not just one.

The Edmonds-Woodway High School String Quartet will have the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

Here's the rundown:

The show: "In My Life" is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall ("Paul"), Nathaniel Bott ("John"), Zak Schaffer ("George") and Axel Clarke ("Ringo"). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the L.A. Times at one point declaring, “The show delivers where it counts, which is to say, the hits keep coming.” The production is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. "In My Life" played to capacity audiences at ECA in 2014 and 2015 and is appropriate for all ages. 

The string quartet: Seniors Helen Nguyenand Elaina Johnson and juniors James Gamboa and Andrew Tjandra will join the band for the songs "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye," and "Hey Jude." In a special touch, "Yesterday" is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

In addition to being principals in the Edmonds-Woodway Philharmonic Orchestra and Camerata, the most advanced ensemble, quartet members perform with prestigious ensembles including the All-State Orchestra. All members regularly receive superior ratings at Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) solo and ensemble competitions.        

How the "Beatles" connection was started: The producers of "In My Life" approached Edmonds-Woodway High School's Orchestra Director Karen Helseth looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show hired an EWHS string quartet in 2014 and 2015 to accompany when the production performed at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

"Edmonds-Woodway has one of the strongest music programs in the country and we try to hire them whenever we return to the region," said co-producer Tom Maher. 

The quartet's Beatles fans: All quartet members are Beatles fans.

Nguyen performed with the "In My Life" show two years ago with a string quartet from EWHS and became a Beatles fan.

"My favorite Beatles song is "Eleanor Rigby" and I'm very excited that we get to perform this song in the "In My Life" show," said Nguyen. 

"My dad had an old stereo and we used to listen to Beatles albums when I was young," said Gamboa. "I love the beautiful harmonies of "Yesterday."

Tjandra's favorite Fab Four tune is "Yellow Submarine" and Johnson prefers 
"Mother Nature's Son."

 Quartet for hire: The EWHS String Quartet performs at community events and weddings. They may be contacted by calling Karen Helseth at (425) 431-6230

Cascade Symphony Orchestra
received 11 scholarship applications this year. We are proud to announce the scholarship winners:

Lucy Schermer, Flute, of Mount Lake Terrace High School, winner of the 2014 Cascade Symphony’s Robert Anderson Scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

Alfred Yi, Bassoon, of Edmonds-Woodway High School winner of a $2,000 Cascade Symphony Scholarship.

Mackenzie Alvarez, Percussion, of Meadowdale High School, winner of a $2,000 Cascade Symphony Scholarship.

Congratulations to these talented young musicians!


Edmonds Woodway High School Pottery Exhibit

Pottery Display

 The Edmonds Arts Commission presents a pottery exhibit from Edmonds Woodway High School students, on display in the McDevitt Young Artists Display Case at the Frances Anderson Center. 

 The exhibit is the culmination of work produced by the Edmonds Woodway High School advanced pottery class during an artist in residence workshop lead by Julie Perrine, of Sculptors Workshop, in Edmonds. The project was funded by the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation Visual Arts Idea Grants. The Ceramics department would like to thank the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, an anonymous local art patron and the Parent Teacher Organization for generously funding a much needed new kiln, which made this project possible.

 The show includes ceramic work from Yared Belete, Karina Martinez, Julie Dannoun, Silin Zeng, Kellyanne DeBella, Tia Walker, Emily Dietzel, Gwen McCormick, Joshua Gradwohl, Peter Matulich, Prisma Hernandez, Sarah Loring, Anindo Khan, Sabrina Lieu, Ji Eon Lee, Ji Seon Lee and Joanna Grace Tiu. The students are enrolled in Tanya Johnson’s advanced pottery class at Edmond Woodway High School.

 The exhibit will be on display through June 16th in the Frances Anderson Center at 700 Main Street. The Young Artists Display Case is next to the elevator and is available for viewing during building hours, Mon - Fri 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM and Saturday 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.



State Solo and Ensemble Contest Produces State WinnersState Music Results


The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) Solo/Ensemble Contest was held in Ellensburg in late April. Over 2,700 students from throughout the state qualified in Regional Festivals to compete at the state level.

The following Edmonds School District students placed first in the state in their respective divisions: Kyle Brooks, Edmonds-Woodway High, First Place in Tenor Sax Solo; Ryan Petriello, Meadowdale High, First Place in String Bass Solo; Lucy Schermer, Mountlake Terrace High, First Place in Flute Solo.


Congratulations to all District students! 

Columbia Basin College Jazz Competition Sings PraisesMMS Jazz Choir

Jazz Unlimited, a festival by the Music department at Columbia Basin College, hosts 4,500 student performers in groups from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. This year many District groups came away with honors.

 Under the direction of Kathy Miller, Meadowdale Middle School Jazz Choir was awarded first place in their division and Outstanding Vocal Department.

 Meadowdale High School’s Jazz Choirs, under the direction of Jeff Horenstein, received the Departmental Award and Best Rhythm Section. Meadowdale Impressions earned second place for their division.

 Edmonds-Woodway High’s Mello Aires, under direction of Charlotte Reese, was awarded first place in their division.

 Congratulations to these amazing students and teachers!

 Pictured above is the Meadowdale Middle School Jazz Choir



Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Takes 1st Place at Newport Jazz!
MTHS Jazz 1

MountlakeTerrace High School students enjoyed a rewarding weekend around WesternWashington as the Jazz 1 Band was awarded the 1st Place trophy at the NewportJazz Festival and student journalists picked up numerous honors at theWashington Journalism Education Association (WJEA) state journalism conference.

TheMTHS Jazz 1 band took top prize at the annual jazz festival held at NewportHigh School on Saturday, Mar. 15. In addition, two members of the band werepresented with soloist awards at the event, senior Henry Sparks on trombone andjunior Jacob Krieger on tenor saxophone.

Thejazz band hopes the honors earned at Newport High School are just the beginningof a big spring. Later this month Jazz 1 will travel to Savannah, Georgia forthe Swing Central Jazz Festival to compete against 11 other bands fromthroughout the county. Then the band will be performing as part of Starbucks’Annual Hot Java Cool Jazz concert at the Paramount Theater in Seattle on April19; $20 tickets will be available for the event on April 1.


 Edmonds-Woodway Senior Earns Solo at Carnegie Hall
Bassoonist Alfred Yi will perform December 22

Alfred Yi, senior at Edmonds-Woodway, earned a First Place and Judge’s Distinction Award at the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition. With these honors Alfred will perform his bassoon in a solo at Carnegie Hall in New York on December 22. “It’ll be a great lifelong memory,” Alfred stated, thanking his music teacher, Jake Bergevin for his support. Way to go Alfred!

Alfred Yi

Edmonds School District- Spotlight on Music!


MTHS Orchestra

May's Featured Group: Mountlake Terrace High School, Orchestras

Directed by Jennifer Schillen


There are two orchestras at Mountlake Terrace High School. The Concert Orchestra is a string orchestra that focuses on medium to advanced repertoire; they perform various concerts and performances throughout the year. The Chamber Orchestra plays advanced string repertoire and membership is by audition only, both groups are under the direction of Jennifer Schillen. This year a combination of students from both groups traveled to San Diego California to participate in the Heritage Music Festival where they received a 2nd place award. During this trip they had the opportunity to visit Sea World, the San Diego Zoo in addition to participating in the Magic Music Days at Disneyland in Anaheim during Spring Break.



Featured Groups Archive:


December's Featured Group- Sherwood Elem, Marimba Band


January's Featured Group- Meadowdale HS, Impressions


February's Featured Group- Oak Heights Elem, Bobcat Choir


March's Featured Group- College Place MS, Orchestra 


April's Featured Group- Maplewood K-8, Jazz Band

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