Arts Briefs | Feb. 2 edition

Concerts and shows, coming up soon on Vashon

Noted dance company returns

Gansango Music and Dance Company will return for its third performance on Vashon at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA).

The company presents traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa, drawing heavily from the dance and music traditions of Benin, Ghana and Togo.

Gansango is led by director Etienne Cakpo, originally from Benin and now a choreographer and teacher based in Seattle.

In the company’s productions, live drums (djembé, djun-djun and paholé) and percussion (shaker and bell) accompany modern dance arrangements based on traditional movement, with colorful costumes also providing cultural context. Gansango artists perform regularly in the Seattle area, nationally and internationally, for audiences of all ages.

Purchase tickets at or by calling the box office at 206-259-3007.

Sweeney Todd pop-up: music and haircuts

The cast of “Sweeney Todd” will sing the songs of the renowned show, while islanders can get their hair cut by C’Mon Barber at the same time, and receive 10% off their tickets to see the show. Stop by from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, in the Snapdragon parking lot.

Find out more about “Sweeney Todd,” to run at VCA from Feb. 16-26, and get tickets at

Free jazz at VCA

A new and free educational program, “Deconstructing Jazz”, will have its second installment at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at VCA,

It’s part of Bruce Phares’ “Jam In The Atrium” series, which on Feb. 4 will welcome pianist, composer, author, and Seattle Jazz Hall-Of-Famer Randy Halberstadt.

“Deconstructing Jazz” is Phares’ current pet project, in which visiting guest artists engage in discussions, demonstrations, and audience back-and-forth, followed by a 90-minute jazz set interspersed with more musical observations and topics.

Halberstadt’s talents as an improvising pianist and composer are legend, said Phares, noting that his book “Metaphors For The Musician” is widely used as an educator’s toolbox for teaching jazz improv and theory. He also served as a music theory instructor at Cornish College for years.

Phares, a noted bassist, will duo with Halberstadt in debuting a new composition — a three-part suite by Halberstadt dedicated to his recently-deceased friend, the legendary bassist Chuck Deardorf.

Talk on balancing values

In her presentation, “How Neuroscience Is Catching Up to Indigenous Values,” Betty Peralta will introduce a neuroscientific way of seeing stress and how balancing our values can relieve stress in our work, home, and communities.

Peralta is a consultant for Parents, Educators, and Family Service Providers at Alta (Alternative Learning and Therapeutic Avenues).

The talk will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, at VCA. Find out more and purchase tickets at Youths under 18 will be admitted for free.

Saint Ophelia plays album release show

Saint Ophelia will play an album release show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Open Space for Arts & Community. with Máire Kennan as an opening act.

Vashon-based Saint Ophelia is a five-piece alternative folk-rock ensemble fronted by vocalist/guitarist Rebekah Kuzma, singer-songwriter Joe Panzetta and pedal steel player Dan Tyack. The band’s second album, “Love Deserves the Crown,” was self-released in December.

Máire Kennan is a singer/songwriter from Vashon, and a senior in high school.

Find links to stream all her music and watch a profile on the making of her debut album, “Man in My Pocket” at her website,, and listen on Spotify under Maire Kennan.

Purchase tickets to the concert at Youth will be admitted for free.

Concert to fill coffers of scholarship fund

A group of revered island musicians will perform a benefit concert for the Paul Colwell Music Scholarship Fund from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Vashon High School Theater. The concert will honor Colwell’s contributions to music and education on Vashon and around the world.

Performers will include Mark Graham and Orville Johnson, Susan Lewis, Chris Andersen, Kat Eggleston, Camille Reeves, Steve Amsden, Mark Wells, Carter Castle, Rick Doussett, Jennifer Stills, David Hawkins, Kate Atwell, Mindy Little, Chuck Roehm, and Paul and Steve Colwell.

Funds raised will go toward scholarships for graduating seniors who intend to continue with music in their higher education.

The Colwell scholarship is part of the Vashon Community Scholarship Foundation.

A $10 donation at the door is suggested for the concert. Donations can also be made online at; please specify your donation is “for the Paul Colwell Music Scholarship.”