WICA opens intimate 88 Keys Piano Club series

Maureen Girard

Maureen Girard

Hosted by Maureen Girard

Longtime piano jazz teacher and performer Girard invites some of her most talented friends to join her at the piano in the style of the National Public Radio program, Piano Jazz with the late Marian McPartland.

Girard said the idea is to present a show that’s entertaining and fun and includes the audience.  The centerpiece, of course, is great music, but the discussion will center particularly on improvisation.

“I will open the show with a solo performance, then introduce our guest artist,’ Girard said of the format. “We will perform a few pieces together on two pianos followed by some conversation about the music and careers. We’ll invite the audience to ask questions, as well.

Girard welcomes Seattle-based pianist Karin Kajita. Kajita is an accomplished pianist who has been a part of the Seattle jazz scene for many years, including as the leader of the Karin Kajita Jazz Quintet. She also performs regularly with Emily McIntosh, the David George 10 Tet Big Band, Blues Street Voices and Mairin & Friends, and has played several North American cities, as well as having toured several times in Japan and through Europe on the Norwegian Cruise Line.

The second set of the evening will open with a performance by one of Girard’s adult students, Masami Saiku, who has studied classical piano for several years and has learned to improvise through her lessons with Girard. Kajita will also take the stage with Masami.

Girard is a pro at this small concert setting. She draws on her experience with her own popular House Concert Series, which she hosted and presented for 10 years at her 88 Keys Piano Studio in Langley. That series hosted a steady stream of Girard’s talented friends, including Jessica Williams, David Lanz, Claudio Mendez, Karin Kajita and a list of noted pianists from the Seattle area and around of the world. But this time, she said, she can finally see her audience enjoy a glass of wine at the show.

“I am so happy for them to be able to have that now, and to not have my husband Johnny out in the front yard with a flashlight helping everyone park their cars!” 

Please join us for this exciting new series in an intimate setting for great piano music with solo performances, duets on two pianos, conversation, plus fine wine and small plates. The show is recommended for all ages (except very young children).

Zech Hall
Saturday, January 24, 2015
7:30 to 9:30 PM 

Tickets are $20.


Click Here for Online Purchases
Via Phone: Please Call the Box Office at 
800.638.7631 or 360.221.8268
In Person: Visit the Box Office at 
565 Camano Ave, Langley, WA 98260

**Online Tickets Purchases are available until 12-Noon the day of the show.**

Wednesday through Saturday
1pm - 6pm
and 2 hours before every show

Or questions regarding your ticket order please call or visit the WICA Box Office.


Whidbey Island journalist Patricia Duff began Patricia Duff Writing Services in 2013. Patricia was the Island Life Editor and arts and entertainment reporter for the South Whidbey Record for six years, followed by almost two years as the start-up editor for the online arts publication, Whidbey Life Magazine.  She has been writing about the island community and its artists for about 9 years. Patricia Duff Writing Services creates effective copy for anyone who needs it, including profiles, features, ads, brochures, press releases and web content.

Rural Characters go on the road…to Langley

By Betty Freeman

The Rural Characters, Friday, May 16 & Saturday, May 17 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

Look for some surprises and all new songs when the Rural Characters take the stage at 7:30 p.m. for two nights, Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17.

The Characters invite you to share in all the music, laughter, joie de vivre, and casual disregard for perfection that endears them to their audience and allows them to get away with this year after year.

“We’re reaching out to the Best Generation, the Beat Generation, Boomers, X-ers, Millenials and whatever we're going to call this next crop — there's something for everyone, like slices on a cheese platter,” said Rural Character Randy Hudson.

This is their 12th show at WICA, offering what they call a “Clintonian mix of originalia, parodilia and paraphernalia.”

The core group includes Hudson, Gordy Adams, Tom Fisher and Tom Walker. Russell Link will play percussion, and special guests “The Heggenes Valley Boys” Ed Fickbohm and Joe Jeszeck, will also join the fun.

The Rural Characters got their start in 1997 as singing cowboys at a theatrical performance at WICA. They’ve been together ever since, sharing their unique take on Island life with insight and wit. Their first concert was in 2003 as part of the then new Local Artist Series. The next year they were invited back, but this time as a benefit to help fund the Series. The year after that the show extended to two nights.

“Playing Langley qualifies as a road trip for us,” said Hudson. “We’ve come up with all new songs and stories for this concert, and already had a lot of fun in the process. Why not come and have fun too? It’s Island style.”

Tickets are $25, and can be purchased online here, at the box office at 565 Camano Ave. in Langley, open Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1-6 p.m. and two hours before show time, or by phone 800-638-7631 or 360-221-8268.


Betty Freeman is an award-winning writer and editor who frequently writes about the arts for Whidbey Island publications. She lives in Clinton with her husband Dan, a sculptor.