Robert Cray comes to Federal Way PAEC

Blues is the foundation of the music of Grammy Award winner Robert Cray. But it’s nearly impossible to limit his talent to one genre when his music is also influenced by traditional American rock, soul, jazz, gospel, funk and R&B.

“When I first started playing guitar, I wanted to be George Harrison. That is, until I heard Jimi Hendrix,” explains Cray. “After that, I wanted to be Albert Collins and Buddy Guy and B.B. King. And then there are singers like O.V. Wright and Bobby Blue Bland. It’s all mixed up in there. You just never know. I always attribute it to the music we grew up listening to and the radio back in the ’60s. It’s pretty wide open. It’s hard to put a tag on it.”

With five Grammys won, 15 nominations received, millions of record sales worldwide, and thousands of sold-out performances, Cray is considered one of the greatest guitarists of his generation. In 2011 he was credited by Rolling Stone with reinventing the blues with the release of his Strong Persuader album in 1986. Cray’s “distinct razor sharp guitar playing” on that album, the magazine wrote, “introduced a new generation of mainstream rock fans to the language and form of the blues.”

That same year, the rock blues icon was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at the age of 57, making him one of the youngest living legends to receive the prestigious honor. The Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made the blues timeless through performance, documentation, and recording.

Robert Cray will bring his trademark sound and distinct style to the stage at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. With state-of-the-art acoustics, this intimate venue, seating only 700, is the perfect place to showcase Cray’s smooth vocals and expressive guitar solos. by Julie Leydelmeyer

For ticket information:

253.835.7010

Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center

31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S

Federal Way, WA 98003

Visit www.fwpaec.org

50 Years of BMW Northwest

From a young age, Manfred Scharmach learned about work ethic and building a business from his father, Werner. “I started out playing around the repair shop on Saturdays,” recalled Scharmach. “As I got older, he put me to work with a broom and later washing cars.” The elder Scharmach, who was reported to be the best German car mechanic around, owned European Motor Service in Olympia. His reputation led to an invitation to become Olympia’s official BMW dealer and in 1968 the repair shop evolved to include a showroom.

Manfred continued learning from his father, working as a technician, in parts sales, and eventually vehicle sales, which is what he enjoyed most. “My dad and I got along great, and customers respected us because they recognized that we were technicians,” said Scharmach. The growing business relocated to Tacoma in 1979 and to its present location in Fife in 1988.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW Northwest, making it one of the oldest BMW dealerships in the nation and the only original family-owned dealership remaining in Western Washington. The achievement was recently commemorated with the presentation of a Monument Award from BMW of North America. In addition, the dealership is celebrating by donating $50,000 to local non-profits chosen by BMW Northwest employees. The missions of a few of the recipient organizations include supporting military veterans, providing food for children and seniors, and sheltering homeless youth.

“I watched my father set an example for how to run a business, which centered on taking care of the customer,” reflected Scharmach. That focus remains strong today and is being passed on to a third generation. Scharmach’s daughter, Madeleine McEntyre, works on special projects for BMW Northwest and the family’s two MINI dealerships in Tacoma and Seattle.

Learn more about the history of BMW Northwest and the Scharmach family by visiting www.bmwnorthwest.com.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For more information:

BMW Northwest
4011 20th Street East
Tacoma, WA 98424
866-843-3706
visit www.bmwnorthwest.com

Pantages Theater Returns to Historic Glory

Tacoma not only creates it also celebrates its artistic history.

Slated for the wrecking ball in the 1980s, the historic Pantages Theater located in downtown Tacoma had seen better days. Built in 1918 for vaudeville king Alexander Pantages as part of his theater empire, the beloved theater was in deep decline and neglect. Demonstrating true Tacoma grit, citizens rallied together and saved the performance space that became part of the City of Tacoma and later the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts.

Although the loss of this historic treasure had been adverted, recent patrons, staff and performers have all known that there was much more that needed to be done. Peeling paint, sound from the street and uncomfortable seats were indicators that changes needed to be made.

Completed this November, the most recent renovation returns the inside of the Pantages much closer to its original state and also consists of updates for the safety and comfort of today’s audiences and performers.

From the new color scheme, based on the forensic research of the 22 layers of paint, to the addition of rich decoration to the private boxes that feature rosettes and shells, the Pantages has returned to it’s former glory. Details that had previously been difficult to see have been revealed and the architectural elements have been enhanced.

Modern attendees will appreciate features such as wider seats, cup holders, a new center aisle, fewer stairways, new handrails and lighting. What patrons won’t see are the new seismic and safety updates that will preserve the theater’s structure and integrity should an earthquake hit. Additionally, the acoustics of the space have been greatly improved with the elimination of the carpeting that previously absorbed sound and newly built floors.

With the busy holiday season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to see for yourself the glorious Pantages while attending a live performance.  Come down to the Theater District and celebrate! Hilary Ryan

Image By: Justin John Ryan

 

A Centennial Celebration for Tacoma Little Theatre

Back in October 1918 a group of Tacoma residents gathered to form the local chapter of the Drama League of America. Its purpose was to study and promote theater and build community in the burgeoning city. The same year, the Port of Tacoma, Tacoma Kiwanis and the Tacoma News Tribune were established. So the civic-focused theater group was clearly part of something special that was transforming the town.

As the oldest community theater west of the Mississippi, Tacoma Little Theatre has been part of the lives of many local families over several generations. Throughout its history, the theater has been the starting ground for many local performers, including the magician Ray Gamble and the rock band Alice in Chains.

Recently the theater has received national and regional acclaim. In 2016 its production of Second Samuel by Pamela Parker was recognized by the American Association of Community Theatre as one of two outstanding productions in Washington state. And this year, TLT has been awarded the AMOCAT award for achievements by an arts organization.

Looking forward, TLT’s managing director Chris Serface notes some big changes are coming. “We are currently one-third of the way through our theater improvement plan, which includes new seats, new carpet and updated lighting and sound equipment. Most recently, we purchased an adjacent building, which has given the theater much-needed rehearsal and storage space as well as room to build sets.”

In addition, the theater’s lobby, which was state-of-the-art in the 1950s, will be the focus of an upcoming capital campaign to expand and update the space as well as renovate the restrooms.

“Tacoma Little Theatre exists because of our community,” says Serface. “We want everyone to feel welcome here. With continual support we hope to be sharing theater and creating community connections for decades to come.”

Join the celebration of this beloved, locally focused theater by seeing a show or two this season. Make plans to attend the 100th anniversary celebration in February 2019. The evening event will feature dinner along with songs and performances from the 1920s and ’30s. Tacoma’s oldest theater is a treasured gem. It reminds us of the power of arts to transform and unite us all.

HILLARY RYAN

For Additional Information
Tacoma Little Theatre
tacomalittletheatre.com

Doing Business with a Philanthropic Heart

Philanthropy isn’t as simple as monetary donations. At the core of philanthropic acts is a desire to improve the human condition—to make the world a better place. In Thurston and Mason counties, you need look no further than Olympia Federal Savings to find a local business with a philanthropic heart.

Oly Fed, as the financial institution is commonly called, believes in preserving, protecting and enhancing the community to improve quality of life. One way it achieves this is through its commitment to donate at least 5 percent of its revenue to local nonprofit organizations. For the last several years, it has reached 10 percent. In addition, its employees have logged countless hours volunteering their time and talents.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recognized Oly Fed for its efforts by awarding it a 2017 National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion.

“Washington is fortunate to have so many caring companies that give back to their communities in a variety of ways,” Wyman said. “This awards program is a great way to recognize companies like Oly Fed that go above and beyond to make a difference.”

The strength of Oly Fed’s commitment to its philanthropic mission is rooted in each of its eight branches and more than 110 employees. Its innovative, people-first approach to business earned it a spot on Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, for the third year in a row.

Moreover, recent federal corporate tax reductions have allowed the organization to increase profit sharing for employees, raise its entry-level wage to $15 an hour, and add new positions to better meet customer needs.

“By making these changes and investments, our hope is that we continue to create a lasting legacy that has a positive impact for everyone,” says Lori Drummond, president and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
Olympia Federal Savings
360.754.3400
olyfed.com

Exposing Children to Arts With a Matinee

What began as bringing kids to matinee performances at Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center turned into a program dedicated to children engaging in art, called Arts 4 Youth.

“School-day matinées for students are quite common in performing arts centers,” says Kate Dorr, arts education coordinator for PAEC. “So it was a natural fit. On a larger scale, engaging students in the performing arts is good for their intellectual and emotional development, as well as the larger community’s development.”

Schools and individual students can sign themselves up. According to Dorr, PAEC’s Performing Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3), supports ticket price discounts and bus grants for schools that qualify, based on their free and reduced lunch percentage.

For the past year Dorr has been involved in the program, designing guides and programs for schools. “My background is in museum education and classroom teaching. I am a lifelong lover of—and child participant in—the performing arts.” Witnessing children’s excitement when they get to see a play is “truly heartwarming,” says Dorr. She adds that research reveals how participation in the arts encourages success in other areas of education. “Everyone deserves access to these benefits.

This year alone PAEC is offering nine matinee performances for schools. The shows include New Chinese Acrobats, Toying with Science, Mariachi Sol de México and more. Dorr notes that she’s created study guides for each show for teachers to use before and after they bring their students, as well as lesson plans and guides on theater arts and PAEC in general. These study guides and lesson plans can be found online at fwpaec.org.

The matinees offer an educational experience different from what happens in the classroom, says Dorr, and exposes them to a new art form. She hopes students who attend these matinees will have an emotional connection to what they see on stage and will have their intellectual curiosity stimulated. From such experiences, she says, students gain the knowledge that there is a wide variety of ways to express yourself.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

For Additional Information
Federal Way Performing Arts Center Arts 4 Youth
fwpaec.org/student-matinees

A Half-Century of High-Performance

For almost 50 years, Desco Audio and Video has been a one-stop shop for high-performance audio and video. Based in Olympia and serving Tacoma, Gig Harbor and surrounding areas, DescoAV provides custom home entertainment and smart home solutions.

DescoAV is a second-generation family-owned business. In 1969, two friends, Dick Scott and Gene DeRousie, discovered a shared passion for electronics and dedication to customer service. At that time Scott owned and operated a TV repair and rental shop at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. DeRousie was a technician with the phone company.

What started as a TV retail and repair shop has evolved over the years and remained at the cutting edge of technology. Today DescoAV takes the best of modern technology and creates custom audio-video systems to suit your unique home and business needs.

Scott is still active in the business he helped found, while his son Jeffrey Scott, now owner and vice president, manages the day-to-day operations. DeRousie retired in 1993 and died in 2014.

“We’re proud to continue to grow and to carve out our niche as a premier custom integration house,” said Jeffrey Scott. “Our passion for technology and the relationship we develop with our customers is what sets us apart. We do more than install AV systems. We make customers for life.”

DescoAV specializes in distributed audio and video systems—music and video that play throughout your house, cinema-quality home theater, smart home technology, security, and networking solutions.

According to Jeffrey Scott, his in-house design team will work with you to identify your needs and turn your wish list into reality. Desco makes the system easy to use, and all systems are backed by the highest level of technical support, giving you peace of mind.

DescoAV is a Certified Control4 showroom—one of just two in Washington state. You can visit its Olympia showroom and experience smart home living for yourself.

BETH GARSON

For Additional Information
Desco AV
descoav.com

Holy Lamb Organics New Olympia location

Holy Lamb Organics has been making natural bedding products locally by hand in the small town of Oakville, Washington for 18 years. The South Sound community can access a “touch and feel” experience in Olympia.  The company’s retail showrooms are  the only all-natural bedding stores between Seattle and Portland, according to owners Jason and Mindy Schaefer.

The showroom is a great way for customers to experience the products. “We’re excited to be part of the downtown Olympia neighborhood is a great fit for our business,” says Mindy Schaefer.

Holy Lamb Organics’ manufacturing plant is located in what was once Oakville’s historic Little Bit General Store, which served the community in eastern Grays Harbor County for over 85 years. Built in 1902, the building also includes a showroom that is open to the public.

According to the Schaefers, Holy Lamb Organics bedding is handmade using the highest quality materials and forward-thinking design and innovation. Made in the USA, the products are natural and certified organic. The Schaefers add that replacing the bedding of an allergy sufferer with natural products can reduce or eliminate the effects of allergies.

Besides promoting health and well-being, the Schaefers’ vision is to strengthen the local economy using sustainable and ecological practices in their manufacturing and selling. “We bring distinctive, comfy, healthy goods to the marketplace without ever compromising our commitment to sustainability and the environment.”

The Schaefers invite you to their new showroom in March to experience the difference all-natural bedding offers. In the mean-time you can shop to your hearts content on-line.  

LEAH GROUT

For Additional Information
Holy Lamb Organics
113 Thurston Ave NE, Olympia
holylamborganics.com

Fairy-Tale Wedding Love Story

When Emma Guffin and Sam Price envisioned a romantic yet whimsical fairy-tale wedding, they had no idea how wonderful it would be. “We looked at a lot of spots and finally we found the Cooper Creek Inn near Mount Rainier, and it was the perfect wood-inspired backdrop,” the bride said. The couple loves to spend time outdoors and camping together. In fact, Sam proposed to Emma on a camping trip.

“Once we found the location, we asked my mom to help with designing the decor and look and feel for the wedding and ceremony,” said Emma. The planning took place over a year. It was a romantic and whimsical time for all who attended. The bride’s mother, Debbie Guffin, said she had a wonderful time creating the ambiance for the event.

To create this spectacular fairy-tale wedding, the family worked with Blitz & Co. Florist in Tacoma. “This was one of the really amazing events that we had the opportunity to partner on and fulfill the wedding design ideas through floral and greenery applications,” said Steve Barbazette at Blitz.

“The wedding aisle was really long, so we had a daybed covered with greenery and lanterns and a guest book along the way,” the bride explained. “I love Pride and Prejudice so for the wedding program we used Jane Austen book covers. Everywhere you turned there was something new for guests to discover.”

During the wedding ceremony a string quartet played to enhance the romantic mood. As a creative touch, there was also a cigar bar down another trail and a love potion station where the couple did their wedding toast.

The wedding told a romantic love story. “It was so much more than we could have imagined,” said the new Mrs. Price. It seems love was truly in the air during the fairy-tale wedding in the forest.

LEAH GROUT

For Additional Information
Blitz & Co. Florist, Tacoma
blitzflorist.com

Kate Ames Photography, Portland
kateamesphotography.com

Tree – Naturally Beautiful Eco-Chic Furnishings and Finishes

Nicole Wakley’s childhood dream of opening a furniture store with sustainability and high-quality craftsmanship at its roots came to life in 2005 in Hong Kong. She’d left her job as a corporate attorney and traveled the world. What she discovered was the beauty and simplicity found in vintage wood pieces. These discoveries were what inspired her to open TREE.

TREE offers contemporary and rustic pieces to complement any style, including lighting and décor, for every room. After finding tremendous success with several locations in Hong Kong, Wakley decided to enter the U.S. market. She has now put down roots in the Pacific Northwest. She brings her vision of TREE to life by providing sustainably sourced, eco-chic furniture at three Puget Sound locations.

TREE’s expansive South Sound showroom can be found inside a historically protected building in Tacoma’s Brewery District. The company’s most recent boutique, opened at Point Ruston over the summer, treats shoppers to a glimpse of the types of treasures they can expect to find at the larger Tacoma showroom. The third boutique is located in Bellevue’s Design Market.

Each location is dedicated to serving clients’ needs in-store and with home styling and design. TREE offers complimentary in-home design services, whether “home” is a small apartment, a large farmhouse or office, or something in between. TREE is passionate about helping clients create spaces that are livable, healthy and joyful.

A deep respect for the environment is paramount and at the heart of everything at TREE. In addition to partnering with those who share its values, TREE supports local nonprofit groups Forterra and Compass 360. It also supports TREE4TREE, an Indonesian nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting natural forests.

Check out one of TREE’s three Puget Sound locations and be prepared to fall in love with all things eco-chic.

ANDREA LERUM

For Additional Information
TREE Tacoma (Showroom)
Nisqually PowerStation, 2416 South C St, Tacoma
833.855.TREE
tree.co