Seattle, WA

Seattle Symphony musicians form "Alley Band" in Loyal Heights

My Ballard

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The Seattle Symphony performers take to the streets every other Sunday for their outdoor concerts.Ryan Kellogg

Several local out-of-work Seattle Symphony members have teamed up to form what they call the Alley Band, performing regularly in Loyal Heights.

Ballardite Valerie Shields organized the Seattle Symphony members last year, and they began performing one-hour shows every other Sunday on the corner of 23rd Ave NW and NW 83rd St. Shields recruited musicians from the Seattle Symphony's theater orchestra and Pacific Northwest Ballet's orchestra to join the band.

According to neighbor Ryan Kellogg, Shields picks out the music and spends her week composing different parts for the eight to 12 band members, depending on the week. Kellogg says there's usually a theme, with the outdoor concerts including a mixture of classical, pop, and theater tunes.

"The Alley Band was one of the joys of our neighborhood in 2020, connected neighbors, gave the musicians much desired performance time, and created new friendships during a difficult year," Kellogg told My Ballard. "And, we’re thrilled that they’re back for 2021!"

If you want to catch the Alley Band, they'll be playing this coming Sunday (May 30) at their usual corner (23rd and 83rd) in Loyal Heights. They usually start with rehearsals at 3pm, with the show starting at 4pm sharp.

The Alley Band is just one of a number of local artists who have started performing from home. Stephen Wall, a tenor with the Seattle Opera, began his lawn concerts in early April last year when his live performances were canceled. He coined himself the Ballard Opera Man, offering both live and recorded performances throughout most of last year.

The Ballard Opera Man has resumed his outdoor performances, singing for neighbors from his lawn every Friday at 5pm at 9th Ave NW and NW 60th Street.

Photo: Ryan Kellogg

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