Arts and Entertainment

Voices of the Village to be featured at second annual Friendship Walk

Members of Voices of the Village perform during the annual Taste of Decadence fundraiser in June. The band will perform on Sept. 12 during the second annual “Friendship Walk” in downtown Arlington.   - file photo
Members of Voices of the Village perform during the annual Taste of Decadence fundraiser in June. The band will perform on Sept. 12 during the second annual “Friendship Walk” in downtown Arlington.
— image credit: file photo

ARLINGTON — Looks can be deceiving.

But when the Voices of the Village band started jamming last summer in front of the Arlington community, audience members’ toes start tapping.

“The greatest surprise that people had was how good the band is,” said Michelle Dietz-Date, resource development manager for Village Community Services. “When people first see the band, it’s like ‘What’s this?’ Then they get caught up in the music.”

For the second consecutive year, the band, consisting primarily of individuals with special needs, will be playing downtown during the “Friendship Walk” in Arlington Sept. 12.

The walk serves two purposes, Dietz-Date said.

The first, and most important, is symbolic.

“My tagline is for people to walk in friendship and celebrate the inclusion of people with disabilities in community life,” Dietz-Date said. “It’s all about how everybody has something to contribute and it’s very important to the people that we serve to feel like we’re part of the community and that they’re valued.”

In addition to its allegorical nature, the walk also raises money for the band.

Community members can either donate directly to Voices of the Village at the walk or raise funds through sponsorship.

Residents who raise or donate $25 or more receive a commemorative T-shirt.

The approximately one-mile walk will feature prizes and snacks — not to mention music — for attendees.

Audience members will also be given the opportunity to participate with the band, Dietz-Date said. Various musical instruments will be provided for the audience to play.

The walk takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting at the Legion Park Gazebo, 114 N. Olympic Ave.

Voices of the Village, which operates under Village Community Services, has performed at festivals, fundraisers and other community venues primarily located in Snohomish County.

Its 22 members are led by Jon Dalgarn, a local artist who helps organize its music.

Donations, as well as a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, provide funding for the band.

“We’re excited because we’re going to be there with the farmers’ market,” Dietz-Date said. “A lot of people were out on their balconies listening to the music (last year) and lots of people were inquiring about us. That’s the result we wanted.”

For more information, call 360-653-7752.

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