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Zuill Bailey performs at the West Central Episcopal Mission/SpokaneFAVS - Tracy Simmons

Zuill Bailey, of Bach Fest, performs Ash Wednesday concert for homeless diners

Zuill Bailey performs at The Dinner Table/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
Zuill Bailey performs at The Dinner Table/Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

A stillness settled over the community hall at West Central Episcopal Mission Wednesday night as rich notes drifted from the strings of a 1693 Matteo Gofriller Cello, and settled on the ears of Dinner Table guests and volunteers.

Zuill Bailey, artistic director of the Northwest Bach Festival and world-renowned cellist, strummed some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most famous compositions as Dinner Tables guests — members of Spokane’s low-income and homeless community — strolled into the mission center for their weekly, free meal.

Music, Bailey said, should be like a warm hug, and should be so captivating that it stops people in their tracks.

“I just wanted to say thank you and bring you a little of that today,” he said to the guests.

Bailey is currently performing as part of the Northwest Bach Festival, which concludes this weekend.

He donated his time on Ash Wednesday to play at Dinner Table because, he said, “Music isn’t just for the concert hall.”

He said music is a source of friendship, life and peace and all people should have the opportunity to enjoy it. He said it quiets people, and helps them reflect and feel their inner emotions, which is why he wanted to give a solo concert to the guests.

Rev. Kris Christensen ashes guests at The Dinner Table/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS
Rev. Kris Christensen ashes guests at The Dinner Table/Tracy Simmons – SpokaneFAVS

Darrel Douglas, a regular Dinner Table guest, said listening to Zuill reminded him of when he was a young boy, studying music.

“It brought back good memories,” he said. “It was a very nice treat.”

The Rev. Kris Christensen, vicar and urban missioner of West Central Episcopal Mission Center, said it was unusual to see the dining hall so quiet.

“It was really interesting to me to see how engaged they were and how deeply drawn in,” she said.

Bailey will perform at the Mission Center again this weekend as part of the Twilight Tour of Bach Suites in Historic Landmarks.

The performance will be at Trinity Chapel,1832 W. Dean Ave., on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Tickets to Saturday’s concert at Holy Trinity are $20 and can be purchased at www.ticketswest.com  (keyword Bach) or by calling 800-325-SEAT

More photos of this event are available on our Facebook page.

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons, who teaches journalism at Gonzaga University, is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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  • Marissa Sera Katon

    This was very generous of Zuill to think of the less fortunate and give of his time to folks I’m sure were spiritually lifted and knew they were not forgotten.