Ballard chamber orchestra wins first runner-up at national competition

The Ballard High School chamber orchestra, directed by Brittany Newell, placed first runner-up today at the National Orchestra Cup in New York City.

And the orchestra’s viola section took the award for the best string section.

The Orchestra Cup is an annual competition at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to crown the top high school orchestra in the nation. Only 10 schools were selected to attend, and it was the first time Ballard High has been invited to the event.

Congratulations BHS!

Briefs: Banned from the gym, Night Out, no parking, Gather Kitchen and more

A few quick news updates from Ballard and Fremont…

BANNED FROM THE GYM – The NW Fitness Project (pictured above at the corner of N 36th St. and Greenwood Ave. in Fremont) has banned a known white nationalist leader from attending the gym. The owner says he’s received some threatening messages — as well as lots of 5-star reviews — after the Stranger ran the story.

BALLARD NIGHT OUT – The monthly neighborhood art event is tonight (Thursday) from 6-9 p.m. Here’s a list of participating venues and artists.

DROP-IN TOWN HALL – Rep. Noel Frame and Rep. Gael Tarleton will hold a “drop-in town hall” this Sunday at Flying Bike Coop (8570 Greenwood Ave N) from 4 to 7 p.m. “We’ll keep it informal and in small-group conversation,” Frame said. “Drop by anytime in the 3 hour window that works for you! We look forward to hearing from you!”

PHINNEY NO PARKING – A new 57-unit development on Greenwood Ave. N does not plan to offer parking, which prompted an appeal from Phinney residents who said it doesn’t meet the “frequent transit” rule because buses didn’t arrive as often as scheduled. The city does not agree.

HOP IDOL – Attention homebrewers: the deadline to enter Reuben’s Brews’ annual “Hop Idol” contest is tomorrow (Friday). Good luck!

GATHER KITCHEN – The Seattle Times reviews Gather Kitchen in Ballard and gives it “hits and misses” — after the reviewer visited three times.

BALLARD HIGH MUSIC – The choral director of Ballard High, Courtney Rowley, will receive the prestigious “Outstanding Educator” award from the Elliott Bay Music Educator Association at the Washington Music Educators Association conference on Saturday. Congrats Courtney!

BALLARD CIVIC ORCHESTRASeattle Weekly profiles Paula Madrigal, who leads the Ballard Civic Orchestra and the Young String Project.

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Ballard gymnastics team competing in state championship in Tacoma

Update: Ballard came in fourth place in the team score, and Ballard freshman Lianne Kistler finished fourth in the all-around competition. Here’s a Seattle Times story on the event.

Earlier: At the district meet at Sammamish High School last weekend, the Ballard High gymnastics team put up its highest score in school history and the third highest in the state. That performance qualified the team for a trip to the state championship.

Today they headed down to the Tacoma Dome for two days of team and individual competition at the WIAA state tournament.

Well done BHS, and best of luck!

(Photo from @BallardGymnastics on Instagram)

Ballard High jazz band to play in prestigious competition on Broadway

One of only 15 schools to make the cut, Ballard High School’s jazz band has been selected to compete in the Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center on Broadway in New York City.

The finalists were selected from a pool of over 109 high school bands that submitted a recording to the judges. The BHS band will receive an in-school workshop “led by a professional musician” before heading to NYC on May 10-12 to perform before Wynton Marsalis and a panel of judges.

But that’s not all the BHS jazz band is doing — and they need your help.

On March 30th, they’ll be performing at the 23rd Annual Hot Java Cool Jazz event at the Paramount. It’s a fundraiser for the Ballard High music program, and the Starbucks at the corner of 22nd and Market starts selling tickets tomorrow (Friday).

Then in April, the band is headed to the Monterey “Next Generation” Jazz Festival.

“To participate in both of these festivals (in NYC and Monterey) is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, but we can’t do it without your help!” said Evan Fekete, a sophomore who plays trumpet in the band.

Besides the tickets at the Central Ballard Starbucks, the band is working on other fundraising efforts to come.

Ballard High cheerleaders qualify for the final round of the national championship

Updated: The team posted on Instagram that they finished 13th in the nation. Well done BHS!

Here’s 30 seconds or so from the competition:

Earlier: Not only did the Ballard High School cheerleading team qualify to compete in the national championship in Orlando this weekend, they sailed through the preliminary round… and the semi-finals… all the way to the final championship round.

Wow. They’ll hit the floor at 1:20 p.m. our time for the finals tomorrow (Sunday), which may be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 (if not, will be streaming for paid subscribers.)

We’ll keep you updated. Go BHS!

(Photo from the @BallardCheer Instagram account)

Ballard High cheerleaders competing in national championship this weekend

After winning at state two weeks ago, the Ballard High School cheerleading team has left for Orlando, the home of the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.

The big event will be held this weekend at the Walt Disney World Resort.

“This is the first cheer team team from BHS to qualify to such a prestigious competition, and we couldn’t be more excited for them,” said Coach Samantha Burnstead.

Looking at the schedule (.pdf), BHS will compete in the “medium varsity division” prelims at 8:03 a.m. our time on Saturday. The best schools from the prelims move on to later rounds.

Portions of the championship are broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN2, and will be streaming live (paid subscription).

Good luck BHS!

Ballard High Film Festival set for Feb. 10th

One of the best high school filmmaking programs in the country, Ballard High School has scheduled its annual film festival. The Feb. 10th screening will feature short comedies and dramas, advertisements and documentaries created by BHS students.

Films that first screen at the event are frequently honored by film festivals, explains Matt Lawrence, who heads up the program. He said students already have eight Official Selections in the international All American High School Film Festival, four national nominations from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, three winners at Fresh Film Northwest, the premiere of their documentary at the Pacific Science Center IMAX and a top prize from the National YoungArts Foundation.

The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 10th at 7 p.m. in the Ballard High auditorium. Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for students) will be sold at the door.

Funds raised from the event will support the program, including a trip to LA to visit prestigious college film production programs, tour the industry and meet with professional filmmakers.

Ballard High wind ensemble invited to state event, to hold preview performance

Last year Ballard High School’s wind ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC (video).

Next month they’ll be the first Seattle Public School invited to perform at the Washington Music Educator’s State conference. The WMEA conference is a prestigious event, drawing applications from high schools around the state.

To prepare for the big event — which will be held in Yakima on February 16th — the ensemble is holding a free preview performance in Ballard, and everyone is invited.

The preview concert will be held on Tuesday, February 6, at the Earl Kelly Center for Performing Arts at Ballard High School (1418 NW 65th St). The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

Ballard High graduate signs with Sounders FC

How’s this for a “local boy makes good” story? Ballard High School graduate and UW soccer standout Handwalla Bwana has signed a “Homegrown Player” contract with the Seattle Sounders.

“We’re excited to add Handwalla to our squad, giving us another dynamic young prospect from our Academy,” said Sounders FC GM & President Garth Lagerwey in a press release. “We would like to thank everyone in his development pathway who helped get him this far.”

Originally from Mombasa, Kenya, Bwana attended Ballard High School and played for Sounders FC Academy and Seattle United. Then at the UW, he recorded 12 goals and 13 assists over two seasons, earning a two-time All-Pac-12 selection and the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

The signing of Bwana, a midfielder, marks the 10th Sounders Homegrown Player signing in club history. He’s just 18 years old.

School board to discuss boundaries this evening

The school boundary task force will be discussing its two mapping options with the school board in a working session this evening (Wednesday).

As we’ve reported before, both options are similar for Ballard, drawing the line for Ballard High School at 85th St. to the north and 48th St. to the south.

“Staff will use the feedback from the board to create a boundary change proposal that will be included in the Board Action Report for introduction on January 17,” the agenda explains.
In advance of the meeting, the district released this packet of materials (big .PDF file) with the two proposed maps and supporting data.

No final decisions will be made at the meeting — the final vote is scheduled for January 31st — although changes to the existing options could be made. The agenda does not show any time for feedback from the public. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. in the board auditorium of the John Stanford Center, 2445 3rd. Ave. S.