Musical History of Tacoma


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A Life with Banjo Accompaniment

By Kim Davenport A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with my longtime neighbor, Loraine Lewis, to learn more about the history of the Tacoma Banjo Club, a group with which she has been involved since its inception in 1985. That 30+ year history was enough to engage my curiosity as... Continue Reading →

Elvis at the Lincoln Bowl

60 years ago this week - on September 1, 1957 - Elvis Presley performed a matinee concert at Tacoma's Lincoln Bowl as part of a five-show sweep of the Pacific Northwest over Labor Day weekend. A crowd numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 enjoyed a fairly intimate performance, with seating on the floor of... Continue Reading →


Tacoma Concert Band: 37 years and counting!

Concert bands have flourished in the United States since the 19th century. One of the most famous examples is John Philip Sousa, who led both the U.S. Marine Band and his own civilian ensemble in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  [Sousa's band performed in Tacoma, but that's another story for another day!]  If you... Continue Reading →


Booster Songs for the City of Destiny

Thanks to a great audience at this talk!  If you missed the opportunity to attend in person, you can still view the presentation here! *** Want to learn more about Tacoma music history AND enjoy a great evening out at the same time?  Join Kim Davenport and special guest Ryan Bede for the August iteration... Continue Reading →


Bernice Newell’s ‘Artist Course’ Concerts

Don't miss this summer's exhibit at the Tacoma Historical Society, Showtime in Tacoma: Theaters and Performers. One of the highlights of the exhibit are artifacts from Bernice E. Newell, a newspaper writer, arts booster, and impresario who brought dozens of world-class musicians to Tacoma to perform in her 'Artist Course of Concerts' from 1904 to... Continue Reading →


Tacoma Opera Celebrates 50 Years!

As they announce their 2017-2018 season, Tacoma Opera is gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1968.  Over those 50 years, Tacoma Opera has grown from a small amateur company into a professional regional company, attracting both talent and audiences from throughout the region and beyond. Throughout their history, the organization... Continue Reading →


“A Dome of our Own”

UW Tacoma student Kaylee Kent began her research paper, which discusses the Tacoma Dome's importance as a music venue, with a simple question: when people think about the City of Tacoma, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  She answers her question as follows: For many people, it is the Tacoma Dome. The... Continue Reading →


Paul Robeson, Ballad for Americans, and the Theremin

On November 19, 1941, the multi-talented Paul Robeson made his first concert appearance in Tacoma.  Although it was his powerful baritone voice that was featured in this particular event, Robeson was famous for a wide variety of talents.  As only the third African-American student to be admitted to Rutgers University, in 1915, he would be... Continue Reading →


Diane Schuur

In a career now spanning four decades, Tacoma native Diane Schuur has shared with audiences worldwide her love of American jazz.  The grammy winner known for her "pitch-perfect execution and crystalline, three-and-a-half-octave vocal range" has collaborated on stage and in recordings with a wide range of prominent musicians from a variety of genres, including B.B.... Continue Reading →


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