The stars were aligned for Edmonds singer and dancer

Jerbarco Arnold finds a home with Seattle Men’s Chorus
By Brian Soergel | Dec 07, 2017
Courtesy of: Jerbarco Arnold Jerbarco Arnold of Edmonds performs in the Seattle Men’s Chorus’ “A Sassy Brassy Holiday.”

It appears Jerbarco Arnold is finally home.

Growing up in Georgia, he moved to Washington state in 2001, back to Georgia in 2003, back to Washington in 2005, back to Atlanta in 2013 and, most recently, back to Washington – in Edmonds, specifically – in 2014.

He says it’s his last move.

If you appreciate men’s choruses, this is good news. Arnold is a member of the 250-member-strong Seattle Men’s Chorus led by artistic director Paul Caldwell, who are presenting “A Sassy Brassy Holiday” in Tacoma, Seattle and Everett.

Arnold is an upper baritone with the chorus.

“Every section in the chorus is very important to each other in order to provide a full, round, clean and pristine sound,” he said. “As an upper baritone, our section provides the melody sometimes, and we also provide a higher, deep sound next to the tenors in other songs. It all depends on the song.”

Arnold also dances in three of the show’s vignettes, which is no surprise – he’s a dance instructor and choreographer. You can see him in “Stump/Romp,” “Hot Hanukah” and “Super Gay Christmas.”

“All dances are upbeat, fun, energetic and with great costumes,” he said. “People of all ages will really enjoy each dance. You definitely don't want to miss any of them.”

Arnold said he’d heard of the Seattle Men's Chorus and considered auditioning last year. A fortuitous hallroom meeting with the regional director at the YMCA of Greater Seattle in Bothell, where Arnold works, sealed the deal.

“He stopped me in the hall one day and asked if I had ever heard of the Seattle Men’s Chorus,” he said. “I smiled and said yes. He told me that he and his partner went to the Seattle Men's Chorus holiday concert the previous night and it was an amazing show. He said the whole time he was watching the show he kept thinking that I would probably really be good at this and enjoy it. It was interesting to me that he brought that up without even knowing that I was considering auditioning. So I took that as a sign from the universe that I should go for it.”

His interview and audition for artistic director Caldwell went well.

“Paul spoke, and I heard his accent and felt back at home, being that I'm from Atlanta and Paul has a Southern accent,” Arnold said. “He sat down and said to me ‘Do you enjoy singing?' I said yes and he said ‘OK, honey, go ahead and sing,’ and so I did. By the time I got home from my audition I got a phone call saying that I made it into the chorus.”

Arnold joined the chorus in January was and introduced to Michael Bahnmiller, who has been his mentor.

“He made me feel welcomed and accepted instantly, and has taught me a lot,” Arnold said. “He introduced me to other chorus members who have also become really great friends of mine as well. He truly is one of the main reasons why I enjoy being in the chorus. I joined because I always had a passion for the performing arts and wanted to get more involved with LGBTQ activities here in Washington.”

A week or two into his first rehearsal, Arnold decide to audition for the chorus’ dance team, unofficially called Sparkle Motion.

“That's where I met Nathan Wilson, the amazing choreographer,” he said. “He taught a short combination, and then we did it in groups. I really didn't think I did that well, but I guess he looked past my mistakes and thought I showed potential. I have been a part of Sparkle Motion ever since, and I love it it. All of the guys are amazing, and it's truly a warm and welcoming group to be a part of.”

Now, Arnold already has two shows in his resume: “Born This Way” and “Bette, Babs and Beyonce.”

At home in Edmonds

Arnold lives in the Compass Apartments with his fiance, Andrew Barger, who is the apartment’s property manager.

“Edmonds is also where we had our first date,” Arnold said. “It was our true love story, beginning right down on the waterfront. Edmonds is a fantastic place to live. It is peaceful, family oriented, with a lot of local shops and family owned business. The waterfront is lovely for swimming, fishing and just walking any time of day.”

In addition to singing and dancing esskills, Arnold is an excellent spokesman for the Seattle Men’s Chorus, although that’s not in his work description.

“This is a show that you will surely want to come and see either alone or with the whole family,” he said. “All of the song are top notch, 100 percent amazing, and we have some out-of-this-world soloist and dancers. If you are having trouble getting into the holiday spirit, this show is for you.

“If you are already in the holiday spirit and want to celebrate it even more, then this show is for you. If you are wondering if you will enjoy this show, I promise you that you will not be disappointed, and that you will probably want to see it again and bring some other friends and family with you the next time.”


“A Sassy Brassy Holiday”

 

Where: Rialto Theater, 310 S. Ninth St., Tacoma; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; Historic Everett Theater, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett
When: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 (Tacoma); 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 20, 21 and 23, 8 p.m. Dec. 17, 2 p.m Dec. 23 (Seattle); 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 (Everett)
Tickets: $25-$85
Information: 206-388-1400, www.seattlechoruses.org (Seattle, Everett); www.broadwaycenter.org (Tacoma)
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