Video: ‘Soul Jambalaya’ talent feast, for (and with) Denny students

If you weren’t among the 200 or so people in the Chief Sealth International High School auditorium Saturday night, you missed something truly breathtaking in the three-hour, multi-act “Soul Jambalaya” event, a celebration of African-American history (musical and otherwise) to benefit Denny International Middle School musicians. We were there from start to finish, recording video so you can enjoy (or re-enjoy) highlights. Our top clip is the show-opener, the entire Denny-student-performed “The Stolen Ones and How They Were Missed” by Marcia Tate Arunga, explained in this story by Jack Broom from the Seattle Times (WSB partner). From Denny principal Jeff Clark‘s morning-after note today:

I was so proud of the students who performed the scene from our play based on the book, The Stolen Ones and How They Were Missed by Marcia Tate Arunga. Ms. Tate Arunga — and the many talented artists she brought with her — did a beautiful job working with our students and community; we are very grateful for their time and many talents. Thank you also to Ms. Patricia Rangel, who coordinated all the details of this play so effectively.

Under the direction of Denny music-program leader Marcus Pimpleton, who put together “Soul Jambalaya,” the Denny Jazz Band wowed the crowd too:

Pimpleton also leads the band program at Sealth, whose Jazz Band 2 was featured as well – here’s one of their numbers (with soloists identified at the end of the clip):

Sealth’s drummer guested with Septimus, a veteran Seattle group that was among the non-student acts on the bill:

Septimus was in reggae mode for that song, though they also played some blues; a pure reggae performer was on the program, too, even more reggae from Jamaican native Clinton Fearon:

And there were two stage-shaking, crowd-rousing gospel performances, too – including Seattle’s own Total Experience Gospel Choir, led by Pastor Pat Wright:

The brothers-and-sisters group Oliver Generations of Faith brought their own style to the Sealth stage:

While Marcus Pimpleton joked to the audience toward show’s end, “You got $10,000 worth of music,” admission was free, and voluntary donations were collected for Denny musicians’ upcoming California travel. (You can still donate – here’s where to send a check.) Two more acknowledgments from principal Clark’s post-show note:

I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who came last night to support the students at Denny and Sealth at our Soul Jambalaya event. The event was a huge success! …

This whole event was the creation of Mr. Marcus Pimpleton, who, as he always does, did a phenomenal job pulling together such a fantastic event. Mr. Pimpleton has a team of volunteers who help with set up, backstage, and with countless other things–thank you, volunteers. Last night, Mr. Pimpleton said, “This is what being an International School is all about.” I absolutely agree. Thank you, Mr. Pimpleton, for all that you do for our children, our school, and our community!

4 Replies to "Video: 'Soul Jambalaya' talent feast, for (and with) Denny students"

  • Marcus Pimpleton February 21, 2011 (1:25 am)

    I want to thank everyone that supported this event, especially the community performers who shared their gifts with our students and the audience members who came out.

    The Chief Sealth and Denny Bands have been invited to perform in a march down Main St. Disney and as you would expect at a school where 65% of the students are on free or reduced lunch, we have a lot of families that are in need of financial assistance in order for their student to be able to participate. The total we need to fill all of our scholarship requests is $10000.00.

    This year we are trying to do it without selling the traditional junk kids are asked to sell to raise money. This year we are trying to bring in the money by selling what we are learning – music. This was the second of four concerts in which we are specifically asking for financial help. Between the first two we have raised $6000.00 so far. We will have at least two more opportunities for the community to come out hear the bands and support Denny and Sealth students. March 6th Denny Jazz, Sealth Jazz II, and our percussion ensemble are performing at the New Orleans Restaraunt from 3-5. A $5 cover will go towards the music students. March 26th at the Chief Sealth galleria will be our annual jazz dinner featuring the two jazz bands as well as Seattle’s own Jazz Underground.

    I thank the community in advance for its support. It is a great honor for me to live and work in West Seattle. Thank you so much to the West Seattle Blog which always does such an awesome job covering everything happening in the West Seattle schools. It is refreshing to see a media organization acknowledging the wonderful things our kids can do and are doing day in and day out in all of our schools. You all are amazing. West Seattle is immensely blessed to have this blog.

  • Suzanne February 21, 2011 (8:26 am)

    It was an incredible evening of music – can’t wait until next year’s show!

    Thanks again to WSB for your great coverage.

  • CurlyQ February 21, 2011 (8:51 am)

    Wow–thanks for covering this event. While I wasn’t there and don’t have kids at Sealth or Denny, just knowing this is happening in our community makes my day. Teacher Pimpleton, best of luck with the fundraising events. You are an inspiration to so many, especially the kids. Bless you back!

  • Monica Tate March 9, 2011 (9:41 pm)

    The Stolen Ones was years in the making, but a valuable resource for us all!! I’m pleased that Mr. Jeff Clark, Mr. Pimpleton, & others saw this amazing performance, by Denny Middle School students, as a great addition to this year’s Denny Middle School’s Jazz Night!!!! We have to begin thinking outside the box & supportive of our children’s elevation in the upward direction!!!! It’s vibrant resources like these that will help close the achievement gap because us educators know how important connection with culture is to a child’s development & academic success. Again, I want to say I was glad to be a part of it, in teaching the To The Spirit Song to the students, & to see our youth proud to be performing this wonderful book on stage!!!! Ashea!!!

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