An Evening with Taj Mahal Quartet

One of the most prominent and influential musicians of blues and roots music brings heart and soul to the stage. Taj Mahal Quartet will perform at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m.

A self-taught singer and songwriter, Taj Mahal plays the guitar, banjo and harmonica, among other instruments. His decades of recording and touring have nearly singlehandedly reshaped the definition and scope of the blues. He has accomplished this with the infusion of exotic sounds from around the world. His global fusion approach weaves in reggae, Caribbean, Cajun, R&B, West African folk, jazz, calypso, traditional country blues and Hawaiian slack key.

At the 13th Annual Americana Honors and Awards, the two-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, film composer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist was feted with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance.

“What inspires me most about my career,” says Mahal, “is that I’ve been able to make a living playing the music that I always loved and wanted to play since the early ’50s. I am extremely lucky to have fans who have listened to the music I choose to play and have stayed with me for 50 years. It’s very exciting, to say the least.”

As in ancient culture, he adds, the people are as much a part of the performance as the music. “Live communication through music—oh yeah, it’s right up there with oxygen!”


For Additional Information

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts


A Rich Array of Cultural Selections This Fall

Musical legends. Shakespeare in the theater. Christmas with Sherlock Holmes. These are just some of the live music and theater offerings that abound in the South Sound this fall.

A lineup of musical legends and tribute performances will get you out of your seats and dancing in the aisles. October begins with the awe-inspiring production We Will Rock You. Based on the songs of Queen, the story follows two revolutionaries, Galileo and Scaramouche, on a quest to save rock-and-roll in a post-apocalyptic world (Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center, Oct. 1.)

After thousands of rollicking performances and the global success of La Bamba, Los Lobos is still jamming with the same raw intensity (Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 1; Federal Way PAEC, Oct. 5).

A Roy Orbison tribute band, The Lonely, will be celebrating the timeless hits of The Traveling Wilburys and Everly Brothers(Washington Center, Nov. 8).

Cool days will stay hot with great American jazz, blues and folk. The Simon and Garfunkel Story chronicles the journey of the legendary folk-rock duo. The nostalgic and immersive concert-style theater show includes a full live band (Washington Center, Oct. 10).

The Duke Ellington Orchestra celebrates the legacy of one of the most influential musicians in American music (Pantages Theater, Nov. 2). And Taj Mahal brings his heart and soul to the stage with traditional country blues and Afrocentric roots music (Washington Center, Nov. 20).

South Sound theater lovers can choose from a wide range of selections this fall. Tacoma Arts Live will present Shakespeare in Love, a stage version of the hit movie about the Bard’s quest to overcome his writer’s block (Theater on the Square, Oct. 13 to Nov. 7).

Evil Dead: The Musical includes both scares and laughs—and musical numbers such as Ode to an Accidental Stabbing (Tacoma Little Theatre, Oct. 25 to Nov. 10).

A new twist for the holiday season is Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol, by Seattle writer, director and playwright John Longenbaugh (Harlequin, Nov. 27 to Dec. 10).

Rounding things out for a holiday to remember are the Herdmans invading Lakewood for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Lakewood Playhouse, Nov. 29 to Dec. 23). And Elf: The Musical, the adaptation of Will Ferrell’s cinematic twist on Christmas, will be performed at Tacoma Musical Playhouse (Nov. 29 to Dec. 22).


Pierce College Earns Spot on National Honor Roll

Cue the Pomp and Circumstance! At a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C., Pierce College Fort Steilacoom was awarded top honors—the 2019 Aspen Rising Star Award for Community College Excellence. The Rising Star designation is accompanied by a $100,000 cash award.

The national award is in recognition of leadership in several distinct, significant categories: dramatically improving student outcomes, improved student retention and completion, a commitment to equitable outcomes for students, service to military and their families, and a dedicated focus on helping all students overcome obstacles.

“Many of our students are nontraditional,” says Pierce College Chancellor and CEO Michele Johnson, Ph.D. “They’re the first in their families to go to college, and they often face financial and unique challenges. We are committed to helping each and every one of our students reach the finish line and receive an education that can change the trajectory of their lives.”

Johnson notes that the college’s completion and transfer rate is nearly 20 points above the national average. “This award represents hard work that’s being done every day across Pierce College to help students reach their goals.”

Pierce College serves 16,000 students annually on two campuses, at Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood and in Puyallup. The college also operates a teaching center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Evening college courses are also offered at Graham-Kapowsin and Spanaway Lake high schools in partnership with the Bethel School District.

“Our progress in improving student outcomes would not have been possible without the incredible work from everyone at our college and from our board of trustees,” said Deidre Soileau, interim president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. “Our employees have been willing to ask hard questions, use data to inform change, and to create new possibilities for students.”

“At every turn, Pierce College identifies and lifts barriers that stand in students’ way,” said Joshua Wyner, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. “By enacting comprehensive reforms—and measuring impact every step of the way—Pierce has improved student success at a remarkable rate.”


For Additional Information

Pierce College

Corks & Crush

Dr Vinay & Krystal Malhotra, Bill Robertson, Dr Needham Ward, Monica Hurley, Chris Bredeson

Good Samaritan Foundation hosted its swanky Corks & Crush fundraising gala at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup. More than 440 community members attended the annual VIP event and enjoyed a gourmet dinner catered by X Group Catering and took part in wine tasting from 18 wineries.

Princess Lindsy, Lynn Dennis, Kim Swieringa

The event raised a record-breaking $1,030,000 to support MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in caring for patients with cardiac and vascular needs, closer to their families and support systems, when time is especially precious. The funding goes to a state-of-the-art hybrid operating room at Good Samaritan.

Dr. Needham & Diane Ward, Karyn & Jake Sterino

A hybrid OR is twice the size of a standard operating room allowing for all necessary equipment and medical teams to work with patients in the same space at the same time. This OR allows for less invasive surgeries, less radiation exposure for patients and providers, shorter recovery times, and more lives saved.

Tacoma Arts Live Gala

John Bourne, Danene Spaeth, Erik Waterland

Tacoma Arts Live Gala took place at the Tacoma Armory with a steampunk and age of invention theme. Guests experienced the event in three acts: Act I: Cocktails, Raffle, and Silent Auction; Act II: The Great Race; and Act III: Live Auction and Fund-a-Need with dinner. Live entertainment was provided by EnJoy Productions.

John & June Mercer

The event raised funds to benefit Education through the Arts. Tacoma Arts Live delivers a rich blend of education programs that engage 55,000+ students, teachers and families throughout more than a dozen school districts’ programs year round.

Holly Bocchi, Sharlynn Gates, Jessica Winston, Jennie Griek
Kim Keith, Tanish a Jumper, Alison Beason, Rosheida Myers