Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside

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Richard Engstrom, PAFE Board Member for 28 Years

Dick Engstrom with Judy ThielOn Saturday, December 6, 2014, Our friend and colleague, Richard Engstrom passed away. He was not only one of the founders of the Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside back in 1986, he had served on the board for its entire history, and was a past president. The 2014 Festival created a new award in his name for the Voice Division, over his uncharacteristic protests. He was invaluable at making contacts for the Festival, because he personally knew everybody in music both here and around the country. And they knew him.

He was a longtime member of the English Speaking Union, and an avid tennis player. He also was a strong proponent of Tahitian culture, and of those of Tahitian descent. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, friends make a donation to the Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside. To date, over $3,000 has been donated in his name, and the Festival is very grateful.

His memorial service featured several musicians, all of whom were actively supported by PAFE and by their friend, Dick Engstrom.

  • Evan Johanson, violin, playing "Meditation" from "Thaïs" by Massenet,
  • Lucinda Maxey, soprano, singing "I'll be Seeing You" by Sammy Fain,
  • Marcus Shelton, tenor, and Ryan Bede, baritone, singing the duet from "The Pearl Fishers" by Bizet,
  • All artists were accompanied by Danete O'Neal on piano.

Dick was known for his life-time appreciation of musicians, and for shouting "bravo!" after so many performances. So, in tribute to him, the large crowd of family, friends, musicians, and singers, gave Dick an enthusiastic standing ovation and shouted "bravo!".

Here are some comments about Dick:

  • Oh my, so many memories... He did indeed love opera and singers. I will miss his enthusiasm and support.. - Eleanor Stallcop-Horrox
  • He was so supportive of young talent and always made me feel I had a good friend rooting for me whenever I performed back home. He'll be missed and loved by many. - Julia West
  • Incredible human being. Huge loss for all of us. - Irina Akhrin
  • Dick will be fondly remembered. I'm so honored to be the first winner of Richard Engstrom Award in Opera at PAFE earlier this year (2014). - Dr. Ming Hong
  • We are all in mourning, Dick was a bright light with real heart for and much dedication to the performing arts and its artists. - Christine Zomorodian
  • His passion for music and young musicians was tireless. A very sad day indeed. - Debra Zadinsky
  • Oh, he was a such a wonderful man, so inspirational and just a great motivator of young talent. He will be sorely missed. - Victoria Rimoczi-Olson
  • I will always remember you and be grateful for the encouragement and opportunities you brought my way along with many, many other young singers. - Jenny Shotwell
  • Always the most positive energy in the room! He will be missed! - Robert McPherson
  • What an amazing force of support he has been for singers and other musicians in the Seattle area for many years. - Ryan Bede
  • The Seattle music community lost one of its greatest champions of young singers. - Ben Harris
  • He truly was an incredible cheerleader for young singers in the Northwest. A passionate man who loved life - the Seattle music community won't be the same without him. Dick: I dedicate my singing this evening to you!! I hope that Northwest singers have a chance to celebrate your memory through music. - Sarah Fletcher

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