Fisk Jubilee Singers in Tacoma

--by Kim Davenport Thanks in large part to the selection of Commencement Bay as the western terminus of the Northern Pacific railroad in 1873, Tacoma has witnessed visits by prominent musical soloists and ensembles throughout the city's history. Either through targeted searching or casual browsing, I have found fascinating coverage of performances here by a... Continue Reading →

DJ Phinisey

-by Francine Ruth Today we feature a sultry voice born and raised in our own Tacoma. Known for vivacious beats, smooth rhythm, and producing talent, Phinisey. Born DuWayne Phinisey began his interest in music while attending Pacific Lutheran University's (PLU) music program for opera. Phinisey even performed as an opera singer with the Tacoma Opera... Continue Reading →

Robert Cray: A Tacoma Blues Legend

--by Chloe Rayne Ibarra If you haven’t heard of Robert Cray before, it’s likely that you aren’t big on the blues or jazz scene. Cray is a huge figure in the blues scene. He has received a total of five grammy awards (all within the blues category), and was inducted to the Blues Hall of... Continue Reading →

Silas and his Mandolin

--by Kim Davenport Silas Seth Weeks was born in Vermont, Illinois in 1868. His father Thomas, a barber, recognised his musical talent early and encouraged him to pursue a musical education. Seth began with the violin, but soon gravitated towards the guitar, and would eventually focus his attentions on his favorite instrument, the mandolin. After... Continue Reading →

Black Voices from Tacoma’s Musical Past

-- by Kim Davenport On February 18, 2021, it was my great honor to share a presentation I developed for the Tacoma Historical Society in partnership with the Tacoma Public Library. The presentation shares stories of black musicians from Tacoma's past who left an important legacy in our city. Some made Tacoma home while others... Continue Reading →

Booster Songs, 2021 Edition

-- by Kim Davenport Back in 2017, which feels like a lifetime ago after the epic journey that was 2020, I shared a talk at The Swiss (RIP) about "booster songs" written in honor of Tacoma during the period 1890-1920. A musical form of boosterism and advertising, the songs are fun to explore for their... Continue Reading →

Barks House of Music

-- by Kim Davenport Theodore Barks was just 5 years old when he arrived in Tacoma in 1888 with his parents and older brother Edward. On the long journey by train from Marysville, Kansas, where Theodore was born, the family would have passed through the Northern Pacific tunnel that had just been cut through the... Continue Reading →

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