Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians on the Westside Highway near Colvos can’t miss the Vashon Havurah, a white building with blue trim and the prominent Star of David just under the gable — an increasingly popular destination for music lovers.
In recent years, the Havurah has established itself as a popular venue for acoustic music performances — a simple, spare and elegant site that in March will welcome three very different performers for intimate shows.
Freedy Johnston will return to the Havurah at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, after a sold-out and highly regarded performance there last year. Johnston is a singer-songwriter who in the early 1990s established himself as an acclaimed new voice, recording albums and touring widely.
Bart Arenson, a Havurah member who helps promote the building’s musical offerings, wrote in a press release that Johnston’s lyrics “sometimes paint witty, often poignant portraits of characters who are unaware of how their lives have gone wrong,” adding that concert-goers may find Johnston’s songs to be “the musical equivalent of a Raymond Carver short story.”
At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, Savannah Fuentes will perform “LUZ, An Evening of Flamenco,” at the Havurah. Fuentes, who performs regularly on Vashon, will be accompanied by acclaimed ensemble members, guitarist Pedro Cortes and percussionist Jose Moreno. Fuentes, born in Seattle to parents of Puerto Rican and Irish ancestry, is perhaps the only touring artist in the Pacific Northwest region with strong links to flamenco culture. She studies both baile (flamenco dance) and cante (flamenco singing) and has toured throughout the western states.
Tacoma diva Stephanie Anne Johnson will grace the Havurah stage at 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, accompanied by Dan Tyack on pedal steel guitar. A classically trained singer, she has performed in settings ranging from national television to intimate house concerts, with a repertoire that extends from Americana and R&B to arias and rock and roll.
According to Arenson, Johnson’s music can “rock your night, make you fall in love, bring you to tears, or inspire you to do good in the world.”
The shows are the latest in an eclectic mix offered at the Havurah — a 1926 structure first built as a Lutheran church — since 2014, when Rowena Hammill and Doug Davis of Vashon Chamber Music first approached the Havurah about using the venue for a concert. Since that time, other performers have flocked there as well, bringing world music, traditional Irish tunes and folk and roots music to island audiences for intimate shows at affordable prices.
Ticket prices for the three shows in March vary; more information can be found at havurahmusicscene.com. Tickets to the Savannah Fuentes Flamenco show can also be purchased at the Vashon Bookshop.