The City of Redmond officially turns 100 on Dec. 31, but Mayor John Marchione, city officials, businesses and community members have been doing various things and holding various events and activities all year to mark the occasion.
And with the yearlong celebration quickly coming to an end, the local arts community has also joined in the festivities.
AN OVERTURE FOR REDMOND
On Sunday, the Eastside Symphony will be performing a nine-minute piece entitled “Redmond Overture” during its annual holiday concert.
The song — composed by the symphony’s principal tuba player, Jeffrey Taylor — is one of several songs the group will perform beginning at 3 p.m. at the Redmond Performing Arts Center at 17272 N.E. 104th St. The concert is free and doors open at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s a great way for us to give back to the community,” Eastside Symphony Vice President Valentina Giovannetti said about the concert.
She added that the song is also their way of saying, “Thank you” to the city for the support Eastside Symphony has received throughout the years, including occasional grant money.
Taylor wrote “Redmond Overture” after symphony conductor Alexei Girsh approached him about writing something for Redmond’s centennial. Taylor, a Seattle resident who plays for several orchestras, said he loves the Eastside Symphony and as the group is based in Redmond, this was his way of giving back to the city.
It took Taylor three to four weeks to write “Redmond Overture” and another few months orchestrating it, rehearsing it with the group and making adjustments where needed. And despite all the work that has gone into it so far, he said he is looking forward to Sunday when they will perform the song.
“It’s always a reward when you finally present your piece to the public,” Taylor said.
A COMPLEX SONG FOR A COMPLEX CITY
For the musically inclined, the Redmond Chorale will also perform a centennial song this weekend. They will perform at the Centennial Celebration Saturday afternoon at City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St.
“Sailing on the Dew” is the first original song written by chorale director Laurie Betts Hughes, who was commissioned by the City of Redmond.
Choir member Jennie Perry said the song focuses on a steamboat called Jennie June, which brought many people to the area during Redmond’s early days. Perry added that through this one song, she has learned a lot about the city’s history as Hughes did a lot of research about the city’s past and incorporated it into the song. Before this, Perry admitted that she wasn’t aware of a lot of these things — and many people are probably in the same position.
“I think a lot of people don’t know Redmond’s history,” she said.
Perry describes “Sailing on the Dew” as having “an old-fashioned style” and reminds her of the folk songs the chorale sang for a recent concert. Despite the old-fashioned feel, she said the song also mentions present day and the future.
“I like it because it’s nice, simple harmonies,” Perry said but added that the song becomes more complex as it progresses.
She said this reflects the City of Redmond, itself: There may not seem like a lot going on in town, but the community is very diverse and has a lot happening under the surface.
A VISUAL CONNECTION
VALA Eastside (Venues for Artists in the Local Area), a nonprofit arts organization in Redmond committed to connecting artists to artists, artists to the community and the community to art, is showing its Redmond Centennial Collection through Jan. 25, 2013 at the VALA Gallery at 7525 166th Ave. N.E. in Redmond Town Center.
The gallery, which is sponsored by the town center and sanctioned by the Redmond centennial planning committee, will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to the public.
Jessica Lambert, founder and director of VALA, said they put out a call for artists to create a visual representation of their connection to Redmond — whether they live here, work here or have just visited.
“We ended up having 22 artists that were juried into the collection,” she said.
Lambert added that as VALA is a Redmond-based organization and part of its mission is to have more visual artists show their work in Redmond, some artists submitted their work to the collection because they’d never shown in Redmond and this was an opportunity for them to do so.
A number of artists produced two pieces for a total of 40 in the entire Centennial Collection.
The collection opened at the organization’s gallery with a special event Thursday evening, during which three entries received awards.
Lambert said the collection features a bit of everything, from Redmond-specific pieces featuring historical photos of the city to more abstract pieces.