Arts and Entertainment

A benefit brings in star power to raise funds for Islanders in need

Some of Vashon’s most well-known actors, dancers and musicians will come together at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Blue Heron, to stage a benefit performance for two Islanders, Geoff Johns and Marynell Matt.

Matt, 52, is best known on the Island as a talented gardener and mother of a young son. She has a rare form of colon cancer, and her medical costs have far exceeded the benefits of her health insurance. She has also not been able to work for the past three months.

Johns, 53, is a percussionist and world-music scholar who is known to hundreds of Island children for his work with Vashon Allied Arts’ Artists in the Schools program. For many years, he’s been a fixture in the Island’s vibrant music community, contributing his talents to several bands. He and his wife, Carol Lutra-Johns, also play in Amrita, a kirtan music ensemble that plays and chants sacred songs from around the world, and ringlead the Brazilian samba dancing and drumming in the Strawberry Festival parade every year.

He was recently diagnosed with throat and head cancer; he has no health insurance.

Performers at the benefit on Oct. 21 will include Martha Enson, Mik Kulman, Steffon Moody, Esther Edelman, Janet McAlpin, Ela Lamblin, Leah Mann and Chuck Van Norman.

Their performance, organizers said, will be “an improv night  about living and surviving with outrageous levity and depth.”

A $20 or more donation is suggested, and cash is strongly preferred. There will be no pre-sold tickets — seating is first-come, first-served in the small Blue Heron space. Additional auction items are being donated by Palouse Winery and Minglement, and VAA has donated its space for the event.

Those who cannot attend the auction are encouraged to stop by Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, where donations can be made directly into Johns’ account. Donations to Matt can made to the Elizabeth White Fundraising Account at the same credit union.


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