The Cascade Symphony Orchestra (CSO), headed by musical director Michael Miropolsky, has sold out every show in the books for the past five years. Such a dedicated fan base is uncommon among orchestras, but Miropolsky’s standards are high and the all-volunteer musicians are dedicated to their art. Not being able to hold live performances for their 2020-'21 season was a hard blow.
Music, though, as everyone has discovered during pandemic isolation, is vital to one's spirit and mental health. So the CSO held virtual events. “We miss you so much,” Miropolsky told his dedicated viewers. “We miss the exciting noise of your voices coming from the house before we enter this stage. We miss the bright lights shining from the ceiling above. Most of all, we miss that special feeling of being able to connect with you through the magical power of live performances.”
Magical is the right word. Performed on the stage of the Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), the CSO brings everything from the stirring and sweetly melodic Symphony No. 9 by Dvořák to playful children’s concerts.
The ECA holds its own as a provider of musical arts in Edmonds. Joe McIalwain, Executive Director of the ECA, recently reflected back on the acts that have held the stage in Edmonds.
"We have been so lucky to have this happen to us," he said, scanning the list of past performers. "I mean... look at this list. It's just awesome. Aaron Neville. Arlo Guthrie. Bruce Hornsby. Cowboy Junkies. Indigo Girls. Joan Baez. Lily Tomlin. Lyle Lovett. John Hiatt. Marc Cohn. Ricky Skaggs. Buddy Guy. It's just been a great, great ride. And, there's so much more to come."
The musical arts are so deeply ingrained in this town that the local student jazz band from Edmonds-Woodway High School is a consistent award winner.
You'll often hear them perform at local events, such as the Waterfront Festival. These students have taken top honors at regional and national competitions, and have been featured in All-State and All-Northwest music groups, as well as National Ensembles like the Grammy Bands.
Edmonds gave birth to the Gothard Sisters, who perform internationally with humorous and spirited Celtic dance and song. They always return to the ECA for a holiday show, even if it's virtual, as so many have done recently.
Wait for happy hour when the cocktail bars bring out the singer/guitarist or an entire band. Head downtown on any summer day or during the holidays, and street performers will ply you with their own brand of folk; pianists inside stores will entertain with show tunes or classical pieces; and local rock and blues heroes will make merry at Engel's Pub's award-winning, live music venue.
Who knows, you may even catch Rouge performing Music of Paris, providing pitch-perfect singing and playful dancing, mime, and joie de vivre.
Music is always in the air, at Edmonds.