Friday Fish Wrap 1.11.19

Five things worth knowing this week

1 – Welcome and Thank You New Executive Committee Members

I’m really pleased to announce the election of new Officers of the Board of Trustees, effective January 2, 2019.

John de Groen has been elected President of the Board of Trustees. John is a small business owner who has lived on Vashon for many years. He has performed with the Vashon Chorale, Opera and Drama Dock. John and his wife Beth support all the various arts as well as other not for profit organizations on Vashon.

“Vashon Center for the Arts is a vital part of our island community,” says John. “It’s an honor to be part of this Board and to have the chance to play a role in guiding the future of VCA as Board member and officer.”

Joining John on the Executive Committee are Jenny McMurdo as Vice President, Wendy Kearns as Treasurer, Mary Margaret Pearson as Secretary, and Marcia Bruya as Member at Large.  Officers serve one-year terms and may stand for election for up to three successive terms.

Leaving the Board at the end of 2018 are Anne Nicklason, Jon-Eric Schafer, andTim Roden.   Denise Katz, outgoing VCA Board of Trustees President, will remain on the board to continue to provide her excellent guidance and leadership skills to the Board of Trustees.  The current list of Board members may be found here.

2 – Loving our Land

I’ve meant to write about this project for some time.

As you may know, the field/wetlands to the east of our parking lot belongs to VCA. Up until recently, we’ve pretty much ignored it, doing a bit of watering here and a bit of tending there.  Back in September of last year, we decided it was time to do something better.

In 2016 we already had installed irrigation and had put some desirable native species in the ground. Since that time, a whole lot of eager stands of blackberry and other “invasive” plants had also taken residence.  So, we dug out our county approved planting plan and went to work on “things we needed more of and things we needed less of.”

Phil Middling and crew brought over an excavator and more than one shovel and went to work clearing the big stands of blackberries. Shortly thereafter, I brought over my tractor and mower deck and cut down the of the central part of the field. Finally, we could see what we had. And you know what?  It’s a lovely piece of property, featuring a fine rolling slope to the south, nice dry pasture in the middle, a clever little copse of trees along the retaining wall, and four distinctly different “wetlands.”

Kathi Ray, who looks after our landscaping week after week, got after the project next, cutting and hacking and turning piles of slash into an Andy Goldsworthy worthy installation around the birch trees.

Finally, this past week we were able to take the big step we’ve been planning on since last fall. Nathan and Melissa Schafer of Shafer Specialty Landscape and Design helped us acquire a mighty load of native plants we need to complete our plan and have braved the elements to root them in.

More to come on this.  And yes, for those of you who like this sort of thing, we’ll most certainly have more than one work day this year!

3 – Late Start Art

Good to get noise back in the Blue Heron this week, starting things off right with our VCA Late Start Arts crew!

Our K-2nd group traveled to China, venturing down the Silk Road in story, action, and art. Students listened to a story about a merchant with a precious pebble–a gift that eventually travels all the way to Italy. After Teacher Sue read the story, students acted out the parts, following that pebble all around our dance studio!

Then it was back to the classroom for an amazing Chinese Shadow Puppet show–colored, created and brought to life by the students. Gorgeous dragons were diving in and out of shadow pools and climbing shadow mountains in a constant loop of excitement. Teacher Gerie clearly knows her audience.

Over in the 2nd-5th grades, Teacher Alisara kicked off our Fiber Arts section with Pom Pom madness–of the very concentrated type. These Pom Poms, looped yarn and pulled tight, took on a delightful range of expressions, habitats, and personalities. Our glue station was as busy as it’s ever been! Kids learned about three different ways of making these little critters, taking away more than just cute fluff.  More than a few stand ready to teach and share with friends as well!

If your student wants to jump into the fun, we have room for a few more in our 2nd-5th grade section of Late Start Arts. Jump on it and get ready for the very best kind of madness.

4 – Benny and the . . . (not gonna say it)

We caught up with local high school jazz musicians Benny, Ethan and Chick in the Fong-Wheeler atrium earlier this week for a (mostly) impromptu set and chat with our Creative Director Joe Panzetta. Gotta say these are three very cool cats and we were all loving the sound of that big baritone sax and the super solid rhythm section.

You can catch some of their licks in this little video.  Better still, come on down to the Kay Hall on Saturday, January 12 to hear them warm up the crowd in our atrium prior to the big sound of the Roosevelt High School Big Band in our fabulous auditorium.

Benny, Ethan and Chick hit it starting at 6:30pm. The Big Band down beat is at 7:30. Tickets are $5 for students! Come join us for what promises to be a super fun evening!  Get your tickets here.

4 – Heartworks in the House

HeARTWork Collective came out to Vashon Thursday morning for a workshop on Cultivating Equity in the Classroom / Exploring Culture and Identity.  McMurray Principal Greg Allison played host to this Vashon Artists in Schools-sponsored event and over 45 teachers were in attendance from Chautauqua, McMurray, Vashon High School, the Harbor School, and the VAIS teaching artist roster.

Teachers, including VAIS teaching artists, are on the front lines in helping students navigate their emerging sense of identity. This workshop was designed to give teachers a framework for establishing a level playing field and having courageous conversations with their students in a safe context. VAIS is proud to support this work in our schools and to a person, the teachers raved about the workshop and the good work it will help all of us do.

6 – Finally, and this is a sixth thing

This is just the most extraordinary video featuring one of the most extraordinary musicians, teachers, and human beings.

Evelyn Glennie is a spectacularly accomplished Scottish percussionist who lost most of her hearing when she was eight years old and has been “proudly deaf” since she was 12 years old. Pause on that pairing of ideas for a moment . . . world-class musician who is deaf.

To say that didn’t stop her might be the understatement of the decade.  Not only did she teach herself to hear in a whole different way (using her entire body), but she took her insights and dedication and built a celebrated career as a performing musician, collaborator, and mighty advocate for the arts.  Says her website . . .

Our vision is a society where communication and social cohesion are improved by the act of listening.

Having lost most of her hearing at eight years old, Evelyn Glennie embarked on a unique journey to discover how to listen again. She has developed a method of using her body as a resonating chamber, which has provided her with new ways of experiencing and perceiving sound. In today’s society listening is undervalued, which leads to poor communication. Evelyn’s unique insight shows us that listening is about more than just hearing; it is about engaging, empowering, inspiring and creating bonds. True listening is a holistic act.

Ms. Glennie was featured on Icelandic singer Björk’s album Telegram, performing the duet “My Spine”. She has collaborated with many other musicians including former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, Fred Frith, Mark Knopfler and The King’s Singers.  Her list of accomplishments defies imagination and includes

  • Royal Philharmonic Society’s Best Soloist of the Year 1991
  • Best Chamber Music Performance in the Grammy Awards of 1989
  • Scot of the Year 1982
  • Queen’s Commendation prize for all round excellence 1985
  • Scotswoman of the Decade 1990
  • Best Studio and Live Percussionist from Rhythm Magazine 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 & 2004
  • Walpole Medal of Excellence 2002
  • Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music 2002
  • Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University 2002
  • Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year 2003
  • Sabian Lifetime Achievement Award 2006
  • Percussive Arts Society: Hall of Fame – November 2008
  • Polar Music Prize 2015

I first found Ms. Glennie listening to this TED Talk many years ago.  Now you can find her too!



Why “Fish Wrap”? Years ago, living in San Francisco, I became a devotee of a legendary journalists named Herb Caen. While he may not have been the first to use the phrase in connection with “yesterday’s news,” he is the one I remember. Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrap. Maybe it’s a generational thing. At any rate, we call our Friday wrap up, The Friday Fish Wrap . . . Five things worth knowing about VCA this Friday.

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