Mercer Island has talent

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter First grader Isabella Stachurski will appear on stage at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle this week. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter First grader Isabella Stachurski will appear on stage at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in Seattle this week.
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Reporter staff

Isabella Stachurski to sing at 5th Avenue

Isabella Stachurski of Mercer Island has been cast in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, “Whistle Down the Wind,” at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. She will sing in a children’s ensemble with 14 other local kids.

Stachurski, 6, auditioned at the Crossroads Mall, where she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

“Whistle Down the Wind” will be Stachurski’s first mainstage performance. She has participated in the children’s choir at St. James Cathedral and St. Monica School, where she is a first grade student. And she will play the part of a rabbit in St. Monica’s upcoming play, “Rabbit’s Thanksgiving.”

Stachurski is the granddaughter of George and Rita Krsak, who settled on Mercer Island in the 1950s.

“Whistle Down the Wind” will run through Dec. 2. For more information, visit

Musician Francyl Gawryn

Islander Francyl Gawryn released her second CD, “Songs My Father Taught Me,” through Highreach Music this year. The CD features some of Gawryn’s original solos, performed at local churches, and includes Gawryn’s poetry and a variety of instruments such as cello, flute, piano, guitar and drums. Among the songs are “Goin’ Home,” from Anton Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” and “Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna,” an Italian piece from the film score of “Brother Sun Sister Moon” by composer Riz Ortolani.

Gawryn’s first CD, “Pondpaddler’s Fandango,” is for children and includes folk songs and some of Gawryn’s own pieces, with titles such as “Down by the Station,” “Five Fat Turkeys” and “Obwisana.”

Gawryn’s CDs are available at Island Books, Finder’s Gifts on Mercer Island, CD Baby and

Braincandy DVD

Island children appear in “Braincandy,” a new DVD series that debuted in October. The series, which is similar to “Baby Einstein,” features music, puppets and fun activities in five titles: “See My World,” “Touch My World,” “Hear My World,” “Taste My World” and “Smell My World.” Islanders — including resident Julie Ogata Ciobanu’s children — auditioned through Youth Theatre Northwest and attended filming sessions in KOMO studios and south Seattle parks. The Braincandy series is available for purchase at Borders stores, and

‘That Baby’ CD and DVD

Rob Wolf and his wife, Lisi, of Mercer Island recently created “That Baby” CD and DVD, produced with singer/songwriter Stephanie Schneiderman of Portland, Ore. The DVD is for children up to age 5. The Wolfs own OyBaby LLC, founded in 2003.

“There is a hunger out there for children’s products that are made with passion, not plastic,” said Wolf. “What’s really unique about That Baby DVD is that it’s designed with the whole family in mind.”

Wolf filmed, edited and animated the project, which features acoustic rock versions of songs by Fleetwood Mac, Neil Diamond and The Pretenders, to name a few.

The Wolfs have two other series to their credit, OyBaby and OyBaby 2, for Jewish children.

For more information, visit

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