By Raymond Street

Recently on June 8, 2023 at the Highline Heritage Museum, the City of Normandy Park celebrated its 70th anniversary as an incorporated city.

There was music and tasty treats. There were a couple of delicious cakes and wine provided by The Friends of Normandy Park Foundation, which is a non-profit which does a variety of events and support in Normandy Park.

Normandy Park is a small city between Burien and Des Moines. It has many parks and places which support tree canopies, especially by the residents. Trees are a big part of the identity and distinction of the city.

Music in the Park starts July 9

One of these parks – Marvista Park – is next to the school with the same name. The Normandy Park Art Commission hosts its annual Music in the Park series here. This concert series (like many other cities) hosts music and theatre outdoors, free to everyone. This year the Art Commission is hosting many exciting performances, including two theatre plays and a special interactive art installation.

This series is every Sunday in July and August, starting July 9, 2023. The first group is called Abaraka, an afro trio with a lute-like instrument called the Kora. The Kora player is Chet Corpt, who has played receptions and other events around in Burien. We look forward to their style and sounds.

Next on July 16 we have Pearl Django, unleashing Northwest Hot Club Jazz. Pearl is a establish jazz group with performances all over Washington, as well as France and Ireland. Following this band, we have the BAT (Burien Actors Theatre) preforming Good Morning Bill. This family-friendly comedy is an adaptation of a 1920’s play. There is plenty of shade beneath the trees to sit back and enjoy some excellent acting on a Sunday afternoon.

On July 30, we will host the wonderful and multi talents Jovino Santos Neto. He is a composer, educator, pianist, and flutist who will be sharing his style and Brazilian style jazz. He is also an educator at Seattle’s Cornish College, and a frequent teacher at Jazz Camp West.

As we move into August, we are greeted with another theatre performance by Greenstage. They will be presenting Romeo and Juliet, with all the love, tragedy, and perhaps satirical perspective of idyllic love. This performance is in partnership with Burien Arts who support Greenstage finically, while Normandy Park provides the space. This is a great example of art groups working beyond city boundaries and working to bring theatre to the public.

On Aug. 13 we have a power pop punk band called Student Nurse. They bring a higher energy of music to the hot summer months with their style and presence. August 20 is a quintet featuring Marina Albero, with piano driven Latin jazz.

There are so many styles and expressions of jazz, sometimes the description of calling something jazz doesn’t adequately describe the bands here. I would recommend coming and checking them out for yourself and seeing how much variety jazz has to offer.

Our last show on August 27 is something special. We will feature Eric Ode performing a kid’s centered show with his melodies and tunes. However, at 3 p.m., a couple of hours before the musical performance, we are hosting an interactive art installation with Botanical Alchemists. This installation will feature large-scale designs with flowers, constructed by those who attend. So please bring your family, participate in the design, and be part of the artwork in the park.

After the Music in the Park series, there is another event at the Cove, a private club, which is open to the public for the Art Commission events. This year on Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m. there is the Autumn Art Fest, with Artists, kids’ activities, tasty snacks, and perhaps a marching band preforming in the beautiful scenery. The marching band is Filthy Fem Corp, who has played in Georgetown and Honkfest recently. The Art Commission welcomes their presence at this year’s Autumn Art Fest!

Then on Dec. 16 the Art Commission is hosting another public event at the Cove called the Solstice Soiree, a more formal evening event near the Winter Solstice. There will be a 32-piece orchestra playing classical music and silver themed events and artists. This even offers a little light in the darker months where art can thrive.

Also, during the winter Normandy Park does an event called Light the Park, where the Art Commission drives around and offers awards for the best light decorations of the town. So, if you live in Normandy Park and love to decorate your house with lights during the holiday season, we might be visiting you soon.

If you are unable to enjoy any of these free events throughout the year, we also host a quarterly exhibition at our City Hall as well as a display case near the front desk. We welcome all people to come and enjoy the artwork in our City Hall. Keep an eye out for reception dates and come meet the artists.

So, this summer come and enjoy music, art, and theatre in Normandy Park. There is plenty of shade under the trees!

Many of these pictures are from last year’s Music in the Park series, and from 2023’s rotation of artists.

Links and additional information for all the upcoming artists can be found on the Normandy Park Art Commission Facebook page:

These opinions come from the years Raymond Street has served as a Normandy Park Art Commissioner, a grant writer and artist for the Mural Masters Graffiti festival and more…