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Eatonville Celebrated the Musical Genius of Dr. Cindy McTee April 13

     You can watch and listen to the full concert on YouTube -  An Evening of Music In Celebration of Cindy McTee - YouTube
     See below story and photos for much more about Dr. McTee.

A Brief Recap of the Musical Evening
Story and Photos by Bob Walter

     After a proclamation by Mayor Mike Schaub declaring April 13, 2017 “Cindy McTee Day” in the Town of Eatonville, he and Eatonville School District Superintendent Krestin Bahr introduced world-renowned musical composer, professor, and ESD alumnus, Dr. Cindy McTee, seen here, offering her gratitude for the honor.

Playing to an Overflowing House...

     A  house  packed to overflowing at the Eatonville High School auditorium  attended the  concert titled, "A Celebration of Cindy McTee" – with more watching and listening via a video feed in the Commons – was treated Thursday, April 13, to an evening of beautiful music.

    The evening program was even viewable in a live stream on  YouTube.com. The guest of honor for the evening was Dr. Cindy McTee, a 1971 EHS graduate who, after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) four years later with a bachelor’s degree in music, continued with graduate work and went on to a career as a university professor and internationally-recognized composer.

    In 2011 she married Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Musical Director and Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Among those in the audience Thursday to share in the celebration were Cindy’s parents, Chuck and Jackie McTee, and her sister, Christy Coburn along with some classmates and many, many friends.

    Students from Columbia Crest, Eatonville and Weyerhaeuser Elementary schools started off the evening’s entertainment with some rousing choral arrangements. There was also a performance by the Eatonville Middle School Saxophone Quartet.
    Next, PLU Professor of Music and the University Symphony Orchestra conductor, Jeffery Bell-Hanson, took the stage to lead the orchestra – including three amazingly talented soloists (Sarah Martin, mezzo-soprano; Katherine Nakasone, flute; and Torsen Necessary, flute) - in performing compositions from some classical, and some contemporary composers, including Elliot Turner, a PLU senior music composition major, and Cindy McTee herself.

    During a break in the middle of the program, Eatonville Schools Superindendent Krestin Bahr took the microphone, voicing an increasing commitment in the district to giving students opportunities in music and the performing arts. She then asked Cindy to come up, and presented her with a plaque of appreciation for her achievements as a distinguished alumnus and humanitarian.

    Mayor Mike Schaub read a proclamation on behalf of the town declaring April 13, 2017 as “Cindy McTee Day.” Then Dr. McTee took the microphone and thanked everyone for the honor bestowed upon her. She offered some personal recollections of growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest environment, of family experiences, Eatonville Schools teachers, PLU mentors and others, and how they all influenced her passion for music and teaching. She emphasized the high importance of music and other performing arts in the educational realm.

    After the close of the performance, everyone moved to the Commons, where students served refreshments, and all had a chance to meet some of the performers and mingle. It was another proud gathering for the Eatonville community, on this occasion, in celebration for music, the performing arts and hometown success story Cindy McTee.

     Columbia Crest and Eatonville Elementary Schools' 4th grade classes, under the direction of Jason Hunter, perform “The Pledge of Allegiance Song,” by Irving Caesar, and “Thank You Soldiers,” by Michael and Angela Souders.

     The Weyerhaeuser Chorus & Bucket Band, under the direction of Vince Greco, perform “Fight Song,” by Rachel Platten, and “Roar,” by Katy Perry.

     Jeffery Bell-Hanson, Conductor, the University Symphony Orchestra, introduces the audience to the next composition to be performed, and to the performers.

     Jeffrey Bell-Hanson conducts the Pacific Lutheran University Symphony Orchestra, with award-winning, fourth-year student Torsen Necessary on solo flute.

Bell-Hanson credits the performers and introduces the next classical favorite.

     Eatonville Middle School's Saxophone Quartet perform the English Folk Song, "Country Gardens." Kristen Merrill, Quade Richards, Cameron Howard, also saxophones, Ryan Mueller, baritone saxophone, Jon Stein, director.

     After a proclamation by Mayor Mike Schaub declaring April 13, 2017 “Cindy McTee Day” in the Town of Eatonville, he and Eatonville School District Superintendent Krestin Bahr introduced world-renowned musical composer, professor, and ESD alumnus, Dr. Cindy McTee, seen here, offering her gratitude for the honor.

     Robert and Linda (Scurlock) Miller, Cindy and Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, the PLU orchestra conductor. Robert was one of the organizers of the festival. He teaches at PLU along with his wife, Linda. The Millers live at Alder on the Scurlock farm.

     Cindy McTee’s proud parents, Jackie and Chuck, pose for a photo with her and PLU Symphony Orchestra Conductor Jeffery Bell-Hanson after the Thursday night performances. Jackie graduated from EHS in 1948 and Chuck in 1947.

     Cindy shares a moment with her sister Christy Coburn who graduated from EHS in 1972.  Both sisters were valedictorians of their classes, Cindy in 1971, as was their mom Jackie Mctee in 1948.

Eatonville’s own Dr. Cindy McTee displays the plaque honoring her on this day. It reads:

Dr. Cindy McTee
Distinguished Eatonville High School Alumna
Class of 1971
Internationally known composer and humanitarian.
In appreciation of your continued contribution to music, the arts,
and the Community of Eatonville.
April 13, 2017

"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”  ~ Albert Einstein


My Brief Thoughts about Cindy McTee
and her Remarkable Talent...

       by Dixie A. Walter
      April 8, 2017

     In February 1963, when Cindy McTee was born to Jackie and Chuck McTee, no one knew to what heights the baby girl would rise to as she grew up.
     But rise she did and reached elevations most of us have never achieved. Who knew the adorable toddler would one day compose music so superb it would be played at the legendary Carnegie Hall, more than once?
     When Cindy was growing up in Eatonville, some saw her genius, and that genius grew and grew until Cindy and husband, Maestro Leonard Slatkin, became one of the most inspiring, and remarkable, teams in the world of fine music ttoday.
    Cindy is the descendent of very early pioneers in the area, and the McTee family history is deeply rooted in the history of our area. She has made the McTee name immortal.
    Her mom, Jackie, taught grade school in Eatonville for many years and dad, Chuck, worked for Van Eaton Chevrolet. Everyone knew the McTee family in days gone by.
    Cindy, her sister Christie, and Mom were all valedictorians of their graduating classes, and all graduated from Eatonville High School. Both parents were musical people, so Cindy grew up with a deep appreciation of music and the affect it had on people.
   She has been the recipient of too many awards to list here; however, one of her first may have been the award for naming Glacier View Park in a town contest. She was twelve at the time.
   Those who know Cindy also know she is not only a beautiful genius, but also one of the nicest women you could hope to meet.
   Many years ago Jackie gave me a CD comprised of three works by Cindy. When I listen to the brilliant pieces I am so enchanted I forget this wonderful experience was created from the magic of a person many of us have watched grow into such a force of nature and a strong, brave, independent woman.
   I emailed Cindy for a statement about her activity in town. You can see her comments below. And see Cindy's biography and school's messages below also.
   Learn much more about Cindy and Leonard

Famed Composer Cindy McTee, EHS Graduate, to be Featured Speaker at Orchestral Concert in Eatonville April 13 at the High School
Pacific Lutheran University, along with EHS Students, will Play at Concert to Help Promote
 the Arts in Eatonville Schools

       from Cindy McTee
         April 9, 2017

      "Last September, I was contacted by Eatonville resident, Robert Miller – former director of the University of Idaho School of Music and now working as a consultant charged with building the Eatonville School District's music program – to ask if I would be interested in participating in a musical event 'with the goal of motivating and inspiring students to be involved in music.'

     "When Robert mentioned that his wife, Linda Miller, serves as Chair of Music Education at PLU, he and I immediately started talking about the possibility of a collaboration between EHS and PLU.

     "PLU's orchestra director, Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, agreed to participate and asked if I would conduct one of my own pieces. I thought it best to decline, having not held a baton in my hand for many years. Perhaps one conductor in the family is enough! Therefore, I will not be "performing" as previously reported, but will be saying a few words at the concerts.

     "Speaking of the "family conductor," husband, Leonard Slatkin: He very much regrets not being able to join me in Eatonville and at PLU given a prior engagement (also in education) at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. Sometimes we must go our separate ways, although, happily, not too often.

    "I look forward to spending time with my parents while also working with those at EHS and PLU whose commitment to arts education is something from which we can all draw energy and inspiration. I very much appreciate the opportunity to join them and the young people they serve."

     School District
      Press release

    "The Eatonville School District is proud to feature alumnus, Dr. Cindy McTee on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 7 p.m. Dr. McTee is returning to Eatonville to perform alongside the Pacific Lutheran University Orchestra, her alma mater, and with our own district students.

    Superintendent Bahr asked Dr. McTee some questions that led to some fun memories here in Eatonville, and thoughtful remarks about arts and education.

Dr. Cindy McTee Answers Superintendent

     “There are of course many good memories about my time in the Eatonville schools. But let’s start with the worst … dissecting rats in biology class. Luckily, I was absent the day worms met the same fate. Science and math were definitely not my strong suits, and if it hadn’t been for the goodwill of some very smart friends, I would never have made it through trigonometry. Art, music, languages, and athletics were my main interests in school and still are. OK – not so much athletics anymore, but I do still get out and walk about 10 miles per week. Does that count?

    "In high school, I played a lot of tennis. There wasn’t much else in the way of school sports for girls in those days. But I was also an avid snow skier and enjoyed many trips to Mt. Rainier, White Pass, and Crystal Mountain with my sister and others. Among the many gifts from my parents was their focus on the outdoors as a place to experience nature’s perfection, peace, and beauty.

    "We did a great deal of camping and hiking together, and I believe our many encounters with the absolute best nature has to offer – the wildflowers and glaciers of Mt. Rainier National Park, and the tide pools and rain forests of the Washington coast – fed my musical soul in very important ways.

    "When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always gave the same answer, “an artist.” By that, I meant someone who drew and painted. In grade school, I remember being called upon by one of the teachers to make art for the hallway bulletin boards. I loved that. In junior high, I was put in charge of designing one of the Halloween windows the school provided local businesses. We had great fun making a haunted house.

    "During my high school years, I took Mr. Alvin Smith’s art class and also made decorations for a couple of the school dances and banquets. But of all the things I drew pleasure from, perhaps the most meaningful was playing the piano for musicals and individual singers at concerts. It’s hard to put into words the pleasure that results from making music with a small ensemble or just one other person. In that situation, one feels both the excitement that comes from being truly heard as an individual, and the huge satisfaction that results from intimate collaboration.


   "Of course I also enjoyed playing in the band, a very different experience requiring a bit more willingness to suppress one’s individual musical inclinations for the collective good. That was difficult for me. I was often caught by Mr. Dale Parton, EHS’s band director for many years, playing whatever I wanted to instead of what was written on the page. I was a decidedly undisciplined performer, always pushing against the norm – probably marking the beginnings of my career as a composer.
   "Once at PLU (Pacific Lutheran University), I continued to pursue my interest in art, music and languages, taking classes in all three subjects. I loved French for its musical sound, and music notation for its visually interesting graphics. But as time went along, I gravitated more and more toward music.

    "Mr. David Robbins’ contemporary music class opened up a world of possibilities, and I was hooked. During my junior year, PLU’s outstanding Choir of the West and Symphony Orchestra attracted the attention of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the most highly regarded living composers in the world. He came to PLU for a week of concerts, and after hearing one of my pieces, extended an invitation: 'If you come to Poland to teach my two small children English, you can study composition with me at the conservatory in Krakow for a year.'

   "Well, this was 1974, and Poland was behind the Iron Curtain. I am sure my parents thought they would never hear from me again after I left the country. In fact, I think it took six weeks for my first letter to arrive. But the experience was life changing in myriad positive ways.
   "Ultimately, I chose a dual career as composer and educator. There were several reasons. I could not envision myself making music exclusively for hire. What I wanted was a job that would allow me to make music if and when I wanted to without too much regard for its commercial value.

    "I compose slowly, so I would have starved trying to make a living writing music without some other source of income. The logical choice was to prepare myself for the teaching profession. I retired from that in 2011 after 30 years, and I miss it. My students taught me most everything I know about music and about my musical self. The process of trying to explain things to others – especially things as abstract as music – requires as great deal of searching, discovery, and learning. I am unquestionably most proud of my students, and secondarily, my compositions.

   "Technology has played a vital role in my work since about 1988 when I acquired my first Macintosh computer, a Mac Plus. I notated my most-performed work, Circuits, through the nine-inch screen on this machine. My colleagues at the university were terribly skeptical of it. They had a hard time taking seriously a device that smiled at you when you turned it on, was named after a fruit, and operated with a mouse. But to effectively communicate with my students, I felt I had to embrace new modes of interacting with sound and music graphics.

   "I had always loved drawing music with calligraphy pens and all  of the other  associated accoutrements – drawing boards, electric erasers, vellum, T-squares, and more – but eventually realized that self-publishing using computer engraving processes was about to be born, and my interest was piqued. I also became very enamored of the computer’s potential to capture improvisation in real time as a shortcut and time-saver, so I bought a new, state-of-the-art Mac IIci, laser printer, and 1MB hard drive.

   "Yes, I’m not kidding. A 1MB the size of a Webster dictionary. The price tag? $10,000. I could have purchased a new car instead. I never looked back, but I’ve kept all of those handwritten manuscripts, some of which I may frame one day. They are the closest I ever came to making visual art as an adult.

   "Knowing one’s way around a computer is pretty much a requirement these days for any activity in the field of music composition, whether writing for orchestra, film, video games, or any other medium. Also important is familiarity with the world of music and all genres – classical, jazz, pop, folk, and everything in between. Technology makes it easier as one can download or stream music from most anywhere in the world, often for free.

   "It’s hard to put my finger on what I like most about music or my work.  It’s changed over the years as I have changed. Right now, I very much enjoy hearing from my former students about their trials, tribulations, and triumphs. In earlier days, I might have said that my favorite time was spent alone in my studio, wrestling with the pitches and rhythms of a new idea coming to fruition.

   "But now, in my relatively new and perfectly wonderful roles as wife – of conductor Leonard Slatkin, who performs in a different city nearly every two weeks – family business manager, and traveling companion, I find far less time to compose. For a while, I felt uneasy about it and made excuses about health issues getting in the way – which they did – and finding it difficult to compose in hotel rooms instead of my studio sanctuary – which it was.

   "But then, maybe less than a year ago, the answer to the question “why has your  compositional output slowed down” hit me like a freight train and lifted the anxiety I was feeling over slowing down. The answer – I was no longer teaching. Unconsciously, I had always felt a mandate to remain very active as a composer in order to validate myself as a teacher. Once the teaching went away, so too did some of my motivation to create. The two professions had been inextricably linked, and they fed one another.

    "But I did recently complete a piece for brass and percussion ensemble, premiered by members of my husband’s French orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon. And I have plans to do a version for band followed by a new piece for Leonard’s 75th birthday. So the creative wheels are turning, just not quite as fast as they once did.

    "To close, I might comment on why I think new art is necessary. There are a million answers, but here is one: We need new music, new books, and new art to reflect who we are as a society, to provide a lens through which future generations can know and understand who we were in this time and place.

    "Perhaps society needs artists more now than ever before. We must encourage young people toward careers in the arts, and we must advocate for greater focus on the arts in general education, especially given the dangers that surround us – for I am convinced that participation in the arts, whether passively or actively, will surely lead to a kinder, gentler, world.

    "I believe that a person who has experienced and truly felt the magic of a Picasso painting or the emotional depth of a Beethoven symphony will become a more compassionate person with an expanded appreciation for what it means to be fully human.”

Eatonville Schools Promote the Arts

    As part of an arts audit last year, the need for access to additional role models and appropriate materials and equipment was of the utmost need for Eatonville Schools to be considered excellent. As part of this arts initiative, Eatonville School District (ESD) has instituted multiple support systems.

   Our district added two arts specialists at the elementary schools, music curriculum, and support from music consultants for all music teachers. The district also purchased, at an extremely good deal, a piano. The piano will remain at the high school for classes and productions. The arts audit also led our ESD to send all fifth graders to the symphony.

   This event is a direct result of the collaboration with Dr. L. Miller and Dr. B. Miller from Pacific Lutheran University and many alumni from Eatonville High School. We look forward to further events that focus on the arts, as we know that our students have the potential to become and learn from such distinguished artists in all mediums.

   Thank you to all who have contributed to making Eatonville Strong for all children in the community.

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“Too bad people can't always be playing music, maybe then there wouldn't be any more wars.”

~ Margot Benary-Isbert







“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”

 ~ Osho








“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”

 ~ Victor Hugo







 “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

 ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow







“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”

~ Kahlil Gibran







“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”

~ George Eliot








“Music can change the world because it can change people.”

~ Bono







"Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”

~ Pablo Casals








“I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.”

~ Igor Stravinsky








“Virtually every writer I know would rather be a musician.”

~ Kurt Vonnegut









"Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”

 ~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton








"The only truth is music.”

 ~ Jack Kerouac







"Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same."

~ John Denver







"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

~ Berthold Auerbach







"Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?"

~ Leonardo DaVinci









"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by.  No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."

~ Billy Joel







"There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music."

~ George Eliot








"Just as certain selections of music will nourish the physical body and your emotional layer, so other musical works will bring greater health to your mind."

~ Hal A. Lingerman








"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

~ Plato








"Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite."

~ Thomas Carlyle








"The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music."

~ Agnes de Mile







"Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory. "

~ Oscar Wilde







"There's music in the sighing of a reed; There's music in the gushing of a rill; There's music in all things, if men had ears: Their earth is but an echo of the spheres."

~ Lord Byron





"A few can touch the magic string, And noisy Fame is proud to win them; Alas for those that never sing, But die with all their music in them!"

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes






"After silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music."

~ Aldous Huxley





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