Frank DeMiero closes career with Sno-King Chorale

Final show is April 22 with Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson
By Brian Soergel | Apr 17, 2018
Courtesy of: Sound Music Publications Frank DeMiero

Award-winning music educator and conductor Frank DeMiero will close out his career with Edmonds-based Sno-King Community Chorale by directing the 95-voice group in one of his favorite genres of music – jazz.

The chorale will perform two original pieces by guest artists Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave N, Edmonds.

DeMiero – along with his wife Yvonne – has relocated to Dallas to be closer to family and is turning over the reins to conductor and artistic director Dustin Willetts.

DeMiero’s Sound Music Publications, a publishing company offering choral literature, recordings, choral clinics/workshops and materials, now has a Dallas address.

“Frank DeMiero has had an extraordinary positive influence on thousands of students and scores of adults who have been in the choirs he has directed and the summer jazz camps he has run over his 40-plus years as a music educator,” said Edmonds resident Dick Van Hollebeke, who has performed with the choir.

“Frank is a one-of-a-kind man with a heart of gold. His contribution to music will last for decades into the future.”

DeMiero did not want to be interviewed for this story, as he said he did not want to take away from the focus of the show.

Barbara Kindness is one of the longest-standing members of the chorale, as she was invited to join by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, at that time the Cascade Symphony conductor. Edmonds Community College had asked him to get a community chorale up and running again.

“He did,” Kindness said. “There were about 40 of us, and when he left town the college asked Frank to take over. That was 17 years ago. His best friend, Ed Aliverti, had led the Sno-King Chorale for years.”

DeMiero – who founded the popular DeMiero Jazz Festival, now in its 42nd year – began his teaching career as director of choral music at Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen. He then taught at Mountlake Terrace High School for seven years. He founded the music program at Edmonds Community College, where he directed the Soundstation jazz choirs and was music department chairman for 11 years.

Since its inception in 1977, the DeMiero Jazz Festival has taken on several names. It was initially known as the Soundsation Jazz Festival, produced by student leaders in Soundsation and by DeMiero.

It later became known as the Lynnwood Jazz Festival when the city of Lynnwood became the primary naming sponsor. Later, the festival was dubbed the Edmonds Community College Jazz Festival.

In 2005, The Friends of Frank DeMiero began co-hosting the festival and, for the past several years, the festival has simply been named the DeMiero Jazz Fest. To avoid confusion, in 2014 the organization became officially known as the DeMiero Jazz Festival and the annual event remains the DeMiero Jazz Fest.

DeMiero was director of Vocal Jazz Studies at the University of Washington for two years. In 1998, DeMiero retired as the supervisor of music for the Edmonds School District, where he had served for 13 years.

“I think one of the most enjoyable things about the chorale is that we have been able to learn and share with the public a great variety of music – classical, gospel, jazz, folk, pop, showtunes, originals,” Kindness said.

“And we’ve worked with amazing talent like the Brothers Four, Walt Wagner, Stan Boreson, Dee Daniels, Louise Rose, the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Barney McClure, as well as arrangers like Kirby Shaw, Dave Barduhn and Anita Kerr.

“Two trips to Europe and three to Carnegie Hall have just been icing on the cake for many in the chorale.”

Sara Gazarek, Josh Nelson

A graduate of Seattle’s Roosevelt High School who studied at the Thornton School of Music at USC, vocalist Gazarek continues to garner high praise from jazz critics across the nation and abroad.

After years of collaboration, Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson had their first album as a duo in 2016. “Dream in the Blue” is a mix of standards, pop arrangements and originals.

Nelson has toured extensively with jazz vocalists, including Natalie Cole, and maintains a busy schedule as jazz pianist, composer, bandleader and recording artist.

He has performed and arranged film scores with the Hollywood Pops Orchestra and the Ars Nova Chamber Ensemble.


Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson with Sno-King Chorale

When: 7 p.m. Sunday, April 22
Where: Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds
Tickets: $12-$35
Information: 425-275-9595,



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