My first Bumbershoot was 1978, a year before I moved to Seattle. I was visiting a friend and I remember we walked into the Exhibition Hall and there was this African-American gospel choir – mostly kids – led by an enthusiastic woman. When those kids opened their mouths and sang their praises up to the rafters, my jaw dropped. “This must be a pretty good city to live in,” I thought.
The group, of course, was the Total Experience Gospel Choir, led by thereverend Pat Wright, and I was astounded it was local. That’s one reason I begin a list of 10 great Bumbershoot moments with her choir. Because, to me, part of what this festival has always been about is serendipitously stumbling on something you knew nothing about.