The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway will present ECHOES, a benefit concert on October 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue in Seattle. Hosted by Micki Flowers, a former health reporter for KIRO-TV and longtime HIV/AIDS advocate, ECHOES will feature music, dance and storytelling from a diverse lineup of local activists and performers. Throughout the night, the audience will have opportunities to make donations toward this historic memorial.
The AMP, scheduled for completion in 2020, will be located in the plaza over Seattle’s Capitol Hill light rail station and the north edge of Cal Anderson Park. Utilizing various forms of public art and technology, the memorial will offer visitors opportunities for remembrance of, reflection on and participation in the ongoing fight to end HIV/AIDS.
“ECHOES is a celebration of life, a sharing of memories and a recognition of all those affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Jason Plourde, project manager for The AMP. “ECHOES will offer an opportunity to experience our shared history, move toward healing and directly contribute to the creation of the AIDS Memorial Pathway.”
The concept for ECHOES was created by Michael Byron-Ingersoll, who will also serve as director of the concert. Byron-Ingersoll is a long-time activist and fundraiser in the greater Seattle community. He has worked with many AIDS organizations, including AIDS Housing of Washington, Bailey-Boushay House, Rosehedge, Multifaith Works and the Lion Building, among others. His professional acting and directing career includes work with SHOWTUNES Theatre Company, Village Theatre, ACT, Seattle Musical Theatre, Twelfth Night Productions and Driftwood Players.
“I still feel the loss of dozens of my friends who battled HIV/AIDS,” said Byron-Ingersoll. “They will never be gone from my heart or mind, and they come alive when I speak of them and share stories about them. What I recall is an echo of the energy and spirit of who they were. That echo has been my inspiration for the creation of our concert. The stories we share and the performances we see are meant to help us experience the many echoes that we all carry in our hearts.”
Four Seattle area activists will share personal stories and recount how their lives have been impacted by HIV and AIDS:
- DeAunte’ Damper recently made history when he was appointed the LGBTQ chair of the Seattle King County chapter of the NAACP, a first in the organization’s 110-year history. He also serves as a peer navigator for POCAAN, a multicultural social service agency serving marginalized communities in Seattle and greater King County.
- Bill Hall is a Tlingit native from southeast Alaska and a longtime HIV/AIDS activist. He is currently working with the Seattle Indian Health Board and Urban Health Institute as an advocate for the city’s Native community. Hall is a standing Community Advisory Board member of both the Fred Hutch defeatHIV research program and Seattle Children’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity.
- Pat Migliore has been a volunteer at Seattle AIDS Support Group (SASG) for the last 35 years and helped found the BABES Network, a program offering peer support for women living with HIV that is now a run by the YWCA. Pat has taught in Seattle schools for many years and currently teaches HIV and AIDS education to grades 5-12 and at local colleges.
- Steve Parsons was the first co-facilitator of SASG. He also served on its board of directors and coordinated the organization’s volunteers for many years. He is the founder and executive director of OutKitsap (which continues as the Kitsap Pride Network).
Interspersed between the stories told by the speakers will be performances:
- Alexandria Henderson is a frequent performer in local and regional professional theater. She has been seen most recently as Elle Woods in Showtunes Theatre Company’s Legally Blonde and Ali in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia!
- Justin Huertas is an award-winning playwright, composer, lyricist and actor. He’s best known in Seattle for his original musical Lizard Boy and for his most recent musical, The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion. His next musical, Lydia and the Troll, premieres at Seattle Rep in the spring of 2020. His acting credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Village Theatre and Tiny Beautiful Things at Seattle Rep.
- The Seattle Men’s Chorus (founded 1979) and Seattle Women’s Chorus (founded 2002) comprise the largest community choral organization in North America. Both choruses stand out among the largest LGBTQ-identified choruses in the world. The choruses comprise one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest, most vibrant and successful music organizations, performing a range of classical and popular music. They are a leading voice for the LGBTQ community and provide a bold and powerful force for LGBTQ and social justice.
- Nathan Young and Showtunes Theatre Company present unique theatrical experiences celebrating material from Broadway’s past, present and future with concert versions of rarely staged musicals, and are dedicated to the appreciation, preservation and advancement of musical theater.
- Whim W’Him is an award-winning Seattle-based contemporary dance company founded in 2009 by former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer and choreographer Olivier Wevers. It showcases innovative dance in collaboration with global artists. The company aims to provide a platform, centered on choreography and dance, for artists to explore their craft through innovation and collaboration and is committed to producing work that engages and challenges audiences.
- Billie Wildrick is an award-winning actor and director based in Seattle. Her acting credits include the 5th Avenue Theatre’s productions of Pajama Game, Carousel and Guys and Dolls; ACT Theatre’s Vanities, First Date and Das Barbecü; and Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Seussical. Her most recent directing credits include Annie at the 5th Avenue Theatre and The Champagne Widow at Café Nordo.
“We are thrilled to present this amazing group of performers and speakers who have been fierce advocates for those affected by HIV and AIDS,” said The AMP’s founding chair, Tom Rasmussen. “The stories and performances, like the forthcoming memorial, will honor both our past and our future and serve as a reminder of our shared need to be active, remain vigilant and stand ready to fight discrimination however it may arise.”
Why is the AIDS Memorial Pathway so important to me?
His name is Dana Ray Walls.
My mom’s youngest brother, who passed away from AIDS-related complications in 1994. I want to share his legacy any chance I am able, and I want the world to know his name and how much I loved him.
I was only 14 when Dana passed away, but I remember in the latter years of his life, he was always in and out of the hospital. He did not want the adults in my family to tell his nieces and nephews that he was a gay man living with AIDS. One evening the phone rang, and my mom picked up the phone and immediately started sobbing. She turned to my brother and I and informed us at that moment that Dana was gay and had AIDS and he had just passed away from bacterial pneumonia – which was directly related to his compromised immune system. Even though I was 14, I will never forget the ultimate sense of loss and overwhelming sadness that took over my entire soul that night. Even worse, my mom continued explaining to my brother and I that Dana did not want us to know he was gay because he thought we would love him less and he was ashamed of himself. My heart cried in anguish. This man I looked up to, who was almost 31 years old before he died, thought I would love him less because of who he loved. To this day, all these years later, I wish I could see him again and give him the biggest hug and tell him I would have loved him no matter what. As the years went on, I learned that Dana died so early from AIDS because he was sharing his medication with his friends who couldn’t afford it. The tears are pouring out as I type this, knowing how big his heart was for the world around him, he basically sacrificed his own life to help others.
Monday, October 14, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
1932 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
Tickets for ECHOES are $25 for general admission and $100 for premium general admission (seating in the first three rows of the theatre) and are available online here and in person at the Paramount Theatre box office at 911 Pine St. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.