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Ballard Performing Arts Gives School Year a Send Off with Spring Concert Series  

Ballard High School Performing Arts is closing out the year by celebrating our students’ resilience, strength, and commitment, with a series of Spring year-end virtual concerts featuring all bands, choirs, and orchestras. The free performances will air as live watch-parties for friends and family, with recordings available on YouTube. 

The concerts round out a year that reflects “our unity and community in the arts at Ballard High School,” says Courtney Rowley, Director of Choirs.


Choirs perform Thursday, June 3, under the direction of Choir Director Courtney Rowley. Choir friends and families will be invited to a Zoom watch party for song introductions, senior acknowledgements, award presentation, and celebration of a year together. Following the live event, recordings will be available on the BPAB YouTube channel.

  • Vocal Jazz will perform Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim, arranged by Kirby Shaw. They will also perform the Henderson/Dixon Bye Bye Blackbird, arranged by Kirk Marcy. Hope Onstad will be a featured soloist, and Alden Payne will be on the walking bass line.

  • Treble Choir will perform Shine on Me, a traditional spiritual arranged by Rollo Dilworth.

  • Advanced Chorale will perform O Love by Elaine Hagenberg.

  • Concert Choir will perform Arirang, a traditional Korean song arranged by Hyo-Won Woo.

In addition, the BHS combined choirs will be joined by choirs from Kamiak, Franklin Pierce, and Steilacoom High Schools to perform Hope Lingers On, by Andrea Ramsey. The concert will close with the tradition of BHS combined choirs singing Deep Peace by Greg Knauf.



Orchestra Director Elizabeth Fortune promises an informance rather than mere performance on Thursday, June 10.

Headlining the concert are two finished works that feature all BHS orchestras joined by the Franklin High School, Cleveland High School, and Seattle Pacific University orchestras to form the Wintergrass Youth Orchestra:

  • Fiddler’s Fortune, traditional tune arranged by Renata Bratt and Bob Phillips

  • On Another’s Sorrow, with guest vocalist Martha Redbone. Poetry by William Blake, music by Martha Redbone, arranged by Renata Bratt and Bob Phillips

The finished works are the culmination of an entire semester of specialized learning, collaboration, and picking up new skills, notes Ms. Fortune. “The Wintergrass Youth Orchestra experience was more than just learning a couple orchestra songs,” she says. 

The semester included a two-day residency with Bluegrass specialist Annie Savage and then collaborative after-school jam sessions hosted by SPU. Musicians also participated in a workshop about the poet William Blake, North American Indigenous culture, and making music education more culturally responsive. The workshop was conducted by Martha Redbone and Brandi Waller-Pace, Director and Founder of Decolonizing the Music Room. 

Students also picked up tech skills in learning how to use a digital audio workstation to record themselves and submit their recordings for compilation into the finished works. 

In addition to the finished works, the concert features a mini-documentary, Our Life and Music Learning in this Unprecedented Time. The footage highlights in-person cohorts as they are actively learning, rehearsing, and playing together.

There will also be a tribute to Orchestra Seniors, and Ms. Fortune will present the 2020-21 awards.

The Wintergrass Youth Orchestra continues a Ballard High School tradition of participating in the annual Wintergrass festival, presented this year as series of online mini-concerts called Pocketgrass. The WGYO performance is part of Pocketgrass Episode 10, which premieres at the same time as the orchestra concert (and will be available after June 10) on the Wintergrass Youtube Channel.



Six band ensembles perform on Saturday, June 5, as a YouTube premier on the BPAB YouTube channel:

Interim Band Director Jay Gillespie plans to announce student awards, as well as share compositions that musicians made earlier this year. Assisting with directing the band ensembles this year are Trevor Parrish, instructor for Jazz 1 and Jazz 2, and Denali Williams, percussion ensemble instructor.

  • Concert Band will play Abundant Bliss by Matthew Putnam.

  • Jazz 2 will play Take the A-Train by Duke Ellington, arranged by Jay Gillespie, featuring Tristan Cheyne, Rose Kibelstis, Sadie Kibelstis, and Cameron Burns.

  • Symphonic Band will play Strong of Heart by Sean O’Loughlin.

  • Jazz 1 will play Warm Breeze by Sammy Nestico, featuring Luca Rios, Jarin Synnestvedt, and James Shepard.

  • Percussion Ensemble will play Fiddle My Diddle and Give Me Rent, both by percussionist Joseph Bantum (11th grade).

  • Wind Ensemble will play Liza Jane, arranged by Sammy Miller and The Congregation, featuring Casey Griffin, Tarkel Price, Jarin Synnestvedt, James Shepard, and Kat Moen.


In addition, the BHS combined bands will perform This Too Shall Pass by OK Go and featuring Mercedes Tucker as well as BHS teachers, families and community on vocals! In a fitting finish to a year of remote learning, Mr. Gillespie has found a way to capture “audience participation” for this performance through use of the Upbeat music app.


Ballard Performing Arts

The award-winning Ballard High School Performing Arts Program has gained regional, national, and international acclaim for its dynamic and inspired performances. The Music Department includes three concert bands, three concert choirs, three concert orchestras, percussion ensemble, two jazz bands, one jazz choir, multiple chamber ensembles and a marching band of nearly 200 musicians. The Theatre Department offers classes in Technical Theatre and Theatre I and II while the Ballard Playmakers produce two plays and one musical theatre production each year. More than 450 students—about one fourth of the school—participate in these music and theatre opportunities. Ballard Performing Arts sets a high standard of excellence for all students, ensembles, and productions while developing individual artistry through the study of high quality repertoire and exceptional performance opportunities. Learn more:


Contact info

Courtney Rowley, Ballard High School Director of Choirs:

Elizabeth Fortune, Ballard High School Director of Orchestras:

Jay Gillespie, Ballard High School Interim Director of Bands:

Ballard Performing Arts publicity contact: Roxanne Kenison, Ballard Performing Arts Board publicist

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