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.


Pastor Pat Wright