Monthly Archives: April 2012

Music students win opportunities to play with Bremerton Symphony

Fifteen-year-old violinist Kelly Lanzafame earned the chance to front the Bremerton Symphony Orchestra during its season finale concert on May 12 at the Bremerton Performing Arts Center.

Lanzafame, a student of Katherine Davies, won the BSO’s annual Concerto Competition, winning a spot on stage to play the first movement of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto with symphonic backing, under the baton of music director Alan Futterman.

According to a dispatch from Futterman, five piano students of Dr. Irene Bowling all earned honorable mention in the competition, and two of them — Mencius Leonard, 16, and Lucinda King, 10 — receiving Conductor’s Choice notice, which includes the opportunity to play with the symphony in its Feb. 5 OrKidstra concerts for student audiences. Honorable mention also was accorded to Ariel Mesenbring, 15, Alessandra Fleck, 15, Victoria Fleck, 12, and Mya King, 12.

The Concerto Competition is open to students in grades 6 to 12 from the studios of teachers around Kitsap County.

More information is available at 360.373-1722 or

Poulsbo actress treading the Book-It boards yet again

My daughter, Kate, and I have been reading Garth Stein’s “Racing in the Rain,” which is a more kid-friendly version of his dog’s-eye-view novel “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”
Coincidentally, Book-It Repertory Theatre — the company based in the Center House Theatre on the Seattle Center campus — currently is performing an adaptation of the book. The company has built a reputation for taking books, sometimes by Northwest-based authors, and turning them into plays.

Even more coincidentally, the cast of Book-It’s production includes Poulsbo native Sylvie Davidson, who Kate and I have seen twice as the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Contemporary Theatre’s crowd-pleasing annual mounting of “A Christmas Carol.” (I also saw her at ACT several seasons ago as the female lead in “Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” but Kate decided to give that one a miss.)
In all, this is Davidson’s fifth appearance with Book-It. Most recently, she played Estella in “Great Expectations,” and also has been in their productions of “The Highest Tide,” “Night Flight” and “Emma.”
There’s also a cinematic version of the Seattle-based “The Art of Racing in the Rain” reportedly in the works, produced by and starring Patrick Dempsey of TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy” — which also was set in Seattle.
Book-It’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain” opened April 20 and runs through May 13, downstairs in the Center House. Get more information by calling 206-216-0833 or logging on to

Celebration of dance also benefits a good cause

In case you missed the beginning of it, back on April 20, you still have a few more days to celebrate National Dance Week.
It runs through April 29, and I’m planning on celebrating by terpsichoring around Casa Mikie … where nobody else can see me.
But if you’re looking for a little more of a public way to mark the week, and contribute to a good cause in the bargain, two Poulsbo companies — Zero Gravity Dance and Dance Within — are performing an eclectic program titled “Dance for a Chance” at 7 p.m. April 28 at the North Kitsap Auditorium (1881 NE Hostmark). The show will include youngsters to adults performing everything from ballet to belly dance. In addition, there’ll be food and other vendors and a silent auction.
Admission is by donation, with all proceeds benefitting the Coffee Oasis’ Youth Shelter Project. More information is available at 360-394-4496 or
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, me tripping the not-so-light fantastic in my kitchen is not open to the public.

What makes a band? A name, a voice, or a contract?

My two favorite old dinosaur-prog bands — Yes and Procol Harum — are playing together in August at the Snoqualmie Casino. It’s a show that’s interesting if only for the band dynamic of the two units — these days, Yes is a hot mess, the resurgent Procol a hot ticket.

Here’s a column about them that’s running in the April 13 edition of Kitsap A&E in the Flamethrower:

What makes a band?
It’s a question I’ve been pondering since the announcement of a concert this summer at the Snoqualmie Casino, featuring two prog-rock mainstays and two of my all-time favorite bands; Procol Harum opening for Yes.
Two bands with checkered histories, marked with flirtations with fame and clouded by low-grade controversy.
And both of them feature only one “original” member. Procol Harum is, and always has been, fronted by vocalist-pianist-melodist Gary Brooker, and Yes is piloted by co-founder and bassist Chris Squire.
Squire actually — and infamously, to anyone who’s keeping track — “owns” Yes, at least the legal right to use the name. You might remember (but you probably won’t) that in 1983, with the band apparently in ruins and ex-members strewn over two continents, Squire and drummer Alan White reconvened with original keyboardist Tony Kaye and South African guitarist-songwriter Trevor Rabin, originally under the moniker Cinema. The strong material whipped up by the resurgent band lured the other founding member, singer-songwriter Jon Anderson, back from self-imposed exile.
Anderson later left again and gathered an illustrious band of fellow Yes alums — guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and percussionist Bill Bruford — into an approximation of what many considered the “classic” Yes lineup, the one that produced standard-setting prog anthems like “Close to the Edge,” had a megahit with “Roundabout” and filled arenas around the world on frequent tours.
Only they couldn’t be called Yes. Squire, in Los Angeles with the spare-parts outfit that Anderson jokingly called, at various times, “Yes West” or “Yes Light,” owned the name. Squire’s bunch courted new fans with more pop-rock fare like “Owner of a Lonely Heart” while Anderson’s all-star entourage produced more album-oriented originals to go with their catologue of Yes staples. By the time the two groups merged for a tour and spliced together a CD of undistinguished new material (1991’s “Union”) you needed a score card to tell who was who.
Many various reconfigurations have followed, including a 2004 tour with Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, Howe and White — the “classic” lineup” — celebrating the band’s 35th anniversary. But then Anderson was stricken with respiratory ailments that forced him out again, and the tragicomedy began anew. Squire tired of waiting for the band’s distinctive voice to return, and finally hired a singer from a Yes tribute band, Canadian Benoit David, to take his place. Ironically, David later fell ill himself, and was replaced by another tribute singer, Jon Davidson, who’ll be on board for the Snoqualmie concert — unless some misfortune should befall him in the meantime, forcing Squire to go to the well yet again.
Through all the reality show-worthy melodrama (“Spinal Tap 2,” anyone?), some argue that, even with the other pieces of the “classic” lineup in place, it isn’t Yes unless it features Anderson’s singular castrato. Squire, apparently, says bollocks to that. Anderson, apparently healthy once again, has been touring in the U.S. and U.K. with Wakeman and has a rumored recording project in the works with Wakeman and Rabin. He has declared himself fit to reassume his Yes duties, but he and Squire have their own spins on why it hasn’t happened. Yes’ fans want their voice back, but Squire seems adamant to prove that the voice is no less replaceable than any of the band’s other components.
Conversely, it seems, any time Brooker’s considerable pipes and Keith Reid’s lyrics are involved, whatever combination of mates surround him can be labeled as “Procol Harum.” The band never has had anything like a “classic” lineup, and the pieces started to fall off after only three albums (when organist Matthew Fisher and bassist David Knights left after “A Salty Dog”). Current Harumembers Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) and Matt Pegg (bass) are actually the longest-tenured of anyone on their respective instruments. They, along with organist Josh Phillips and drummer Geoff Dunn, back the distinctive Brooker bellow in what might be the most potent incarnation of the band ever (and that’s saying something, remembering the power of the core group that included guitar diety Robin Trower and drummer B.J. Wilson back in the Seventies).
It isn’t certain if Brooker actually “owns” the name Procol Harum. And it isn’t important, since it certainly isn’t a name anyone else might ever be the slightest bit interested in using it. The turmoil in the Procol camp has come instead from Fisher’s suit several years ago over “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” claiming his stately organ part qualified him for co-writing credit with melodist Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid — and a chunk of the royalties.
Procol played at Snoqualmie in November of 2010, part of a brief U.S. tour that went over well enough to entice them back across the pond for a dozen dates, mostly on the East Coast, this summer. Their songs, their sound and their rock credibility are all intact.
As great as Squire, Howe, White and Downes might still be musically, without Anderson it might not be possible to say the same about Yes.