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Mercer Island bands sound off at EMP competition

Two of the 12 young bands competing in Sound Off!, the annual underage battle of the bands put on by Seattle’s Experience Music Project, are from Mercer Island.

The bands are Dreamwright and Left at the Castle, two groups of Islanders who already have plenty of fans at Mercer Island High School, and thanks to the exposure of Sound Off!, will probably leave the competition with a few more -- maybe even from off the Island.

Left at the Castle is made up of MIHS students Tom Eddy, Ari Wes, David Marowitz, Forrest Marowitz and University of Washington freshman Daniel Gronfin. They have been playing together for three years, crafting a pop rock sound influenced by the likes of Dave Matthews; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Paul Simon and The Beatles.

The band takes its name from — you guessed it — the famous “Castle” house on Mercer Island, which is around the corner from the Marowitz home where the band practices. When the family gives directions to the house, it’s “left at the Castle.”

The band has put out a four-song demo and is working on a self-released full-length album.

Dreamwright includes members Tammy Soeun, Rob Salvador, Adreas Baatz, Jacob Bowdle and Anthony Choy. They may sound familiar from appearances at Mercer Island’s own Battle of the Bands, where they have played under the name Melophobia.

Listeners may also be reminded of the Montreal band Stars, which Dreamwright counts as a major influence. The band writes emotionally charged music with intertwining male and female vocals, dreamy guitar textures and plenty of melodic sweetness.

The band that takes first place at EMP this Saturday will perform at Bumbershoot 2007, and play a live on-air set for “The Young & The Restless” on 107.7 The End. They will also get a goodie bag of equipment, studio recording time and technical help from local professionals.

Both bands will be playing in the Feb. 10 Semifinal competition. Doors open at 7 p.m., with shows at 8 at EMP. Tickets are $7 for EMP members and students and $10 for non-members. Advance tickets are available at EMP or by calling the EMP Box Office at 770-2702.

Frenchies on film

In honor of the arrival of exchange students from Mercer Island Sister City Thonon-les-Bains, the Mercer Island Arts Council has prepared a special film event focusing on French films.

On Feb. 18, the Classics on Film series will present “Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” the 1964 Jacques Demy romance of the 16-year-old daughter of an umbrella shop owner and an auto mechanic. Starring a young Catherine Neneuve, the film is entirely sung, with an original score by Michel Legrand.

Lance Rhoades, Director of Film History at the Seattle Film Institute, will introduce the film and provide commentary. The Arts Council, in a first-time collaboration with the Mercer Island Sister City Association, plans to go beyond the usual popcorn to give this screening a special French flavor.

The screening is free and open to the public, at the Community Center at Mercer View, 6:30 p.m.

The Mercer Island Arts Council has also begun a new association with the Mercer Island Preschool Association, and has announced a new series, “Classic Cartoons.” Movies for children and their parents/guardians will be shown once a month at the Mercer Island Library, with the first show on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m.

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