A Whimsical Establishment: Steve’s Gay ’90s

-- by Deyana Pangelinan Figure 1: Steve's Gay 90s, April 1951Figure 2: Steve's Gay 90s location, 2018 In 2018, huddled in the dusty dilapidated corner of a slowly deteriorating building on South Tacoma Way lies the recently closed down restaurant of what used to be called, “Ah Badabing Pizzeria” right next to a quaint little... Continue Reading →

Tacoma Dome – from the beginning

-- by Melanie Alvarado When someone speaks about Washington State they usually think of the rain, the PNW and Seattle. Rightfully so, Seattle is the largest city in Washington and has heavy musical ties and culture. The Seattle music scene extends deep but what many be overlooked is Tacoma, also known as the City 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 →

Clan Gordon Pipe Band

-- by Kim Davenport The bagpipes are one of those instruments that may elicit a strong reaction - many people I've talked to either love or hate their bold, reedy sound. But there is no denying the significance of the ancient instrument to a wide variety of cultures, from Europe to northern Africa and western... Continue Reading →

Wonder Boy from Tacoma

-- by Kim Davenport Boy's Birdlike Voice Amazing: Robert Murray, 12 Years Old, Sings at Tiffany Musicale So reads the headline from an article published in the New York Herald in January of 1922, which identified Murray as a boy soprano from Tacoma. A few weeks later, the young singer would perform at New York's... Continue Reading →

Great Voice Thrills All: Dorothy Maynor

-- by Kim Davenport On Thursday, February 3, 1944, the soprano Dorothy Maynor performed a program of opera arias, art songs, and spirituals at the Temple Theater. Although perhaps a less familiar name to us today than Marian Anderson or Paul Robeson - both highly-regarded African American singers who also visited Tacoma in the 1940s... Continue Reading →

Temple of Music, Center of Yesteryear

-- by Kim Davenport In February of 1967, an article appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune and Sunday Ledger under the headline: Temple of Music, Center of Yesteryear, Intact on Broadway Features Included Stained Glass, Wine-Colored Carpets Before I delve into more of the history of the grandly-named Temple of Music, a few paragraphs from... Continue Reading →

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