Whidbey Island Center for the Arts will be hosting an evening of music and poetry Sunday to benefit two Whidbey Island causes – local musician and youth empowerment pioneer Charlie Murphy and Healing Circles Langley.
The concert will be held at WICA’s main stage at 7 pm. Sunday, May 22, and will feature the Open Circle Singers and special guests Judith Adams, a local poet; singer Greg Garbarino; and San Francisco-based singer and songwriter Sara Lovell.
Proceeds from the event will benefit both Murphy and Healing Circles Langley.
Murphy is a singer/songwriter who was the leader of the band “Rumors of the Big Wave” in the 1980’s and 90’s. In recent years he has directed an international youth program called Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE Global), an outgrowth of Power of Hope, which he co-founded with Open Circle Singers director Peggy Taylor. Murphy is battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Healing Circles Langley is a nonprofit support, learning and community center for people facing health challenges and their families. It offers a full range of no- or low-cost classes and services.
South Whidbey’s Open Circle Singers is known for its crowd-pleasing concerts, and Sunday’s concert, entitled “Light the World with Song,” is meant to demonstrate the power of music to uplift, heal and bring the community together, according to a press release.
Suggested donation for the event is $10 and tickets will go on sale at 6:15 p.m. at the WICA box office. The Zech Hall Piano Bar also opens at 6:15 p.m. and will host a reception following the concert.
The concert is the latest in WICA’s 20th anniversary season. And as the organization celebrates its first two decades, it hopes to continue to serve as a cultural hub for the city of Langley, South Whidbey Island and beyond, according to a news release.
“WICA is a gathering place for artistic expression and social connections,” said founding board member Debra Waterman.
The nonprofit arts center opened its doors May 16, 1996. A grassroots effort raised $1.2 million to build the first phase of the project, an unheard of amount of money at the time for a community project.
In 2006, the “Stage Two” expansion added a green room, scene shop, dressing rooms, costume and prop storage, administrative offices and an additional performance space to the complex.
Throughout its growth, WICA’s mission has remained the same, according to the release – “to provide a diverse season of high-quality, multi-disciplinary artistic programming” while providing opportunities for education and community participation.
WICA hosts more than 85 performances each year between October and June, ranging from musical performances such as the one Sunday by the community choir, to showcasing literary works, to full-scale theater productions.
The WICA season includes its Theatre Series of five locally-produced plays, a Local Artist Series, Literary Series, Family Series and several regional events such as DjangoFest, PianoFest and One Act Fest Northwest. The WICA Conservatory provides educational classes and workshops year round.
Upcoming events include One Act Fest Northwest, which begins June 10 and a Summer Chamber Music Concert set for 7:30 p.m. July 9.