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Spotlight: Ward repeats as winner at Washington poetry event

Langston Ward, a senior at Mead High School, is the winner of the national Poetry Out Loud competition. (File)
Langston Ward, a senior at Mead High School, is the winner of the national Poetry Out Loud competition. (File)

Langston Ward, a senior at Mead High School, has repeated his first-place win in a statewide poetry recitation competition.

As Washington’s Poetry Out Loud champion, Ward won an expenses-paid trip to compete nationally in Washington, D.C. The national contest will take place April 29-30.

Competing against a dozen other state finalists, Ward performed “The Gift,” by Li-Young Lee; “The Bad Old Days,” by Kenneth Rexroth; and “A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest” and “Road Unknown,” by Walt Whitman.

It will be Ward’s second time competing nationally in Poetry Out Loud. After winning the statewide contest in 2012, he placed in the top nine in the U.S., according to a news release from the Washington State Arts Commission.

Ward, also an athlete at Mead, will head to Harvard University in the fall, where he was recruited to play football.

Statewide runner-up Tom Zbyszewski is a senior from Liberty Bell High School in Winthrop, Wash. He placed first in Eastern Washington’s regional competition, where Ward placed second.

More than 23,000 students from 76 schools in Washington participated in Poetry Out Loud this year, according to the arts commission.

New festival

Robert Plant is among the headliners at a new festival hitting the Gorge Amphitheatre this summer.

Jambase Live, July 5-6, also will feature Michael Franti & Spearhead, Slightly Stoopid, Galactic, Rodrigo & Gabriela, G. Love & Special Sauce, and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers among others. A local stage will highlight regional acts, according to a news release from festival promoter Live Nation. Plant is performing with the Sensational Space Shifters.

Two-day festival passes are on sale now. Through today, you can buy them for $60 at On Monday, the price increases to $75. No single-day tickets will be available. Camping will be offered and artisan booths will be set up on site.

For details, visit

Speaking of the Gorge

Phish is hitting the road this summer, and will play two nights at the Gorge in George.

The popular jam band will play their only Northwest dates on July 26 and 27. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. March 30 through, at all Ticketmaster outlets or by phone at (800) 745-3000. A limited number of tickets are being sold in advance through the band’s website. See for details.

Circus music

The Spokane Symphony and resident conductor Morihiko Nakahara are heading to the big top for next weekend’s SuperPops concert.

“Cirque Musica” will include music from the classical and popular repertoires, including Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” from “Tsar Saltan,” Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” Aaron Copland’s “Hoe Down” from “Rodeo” and John Williams’ themes from “Star Wars” and “Superman,” and a medley of Beatles tunes. Additionally, the symphony will perform original “Cirque Musica” works by Marcelo Zarvos, who has written music for television, dance and film.

Circus clown Bello Nock is the show’s creative director. The cast includes Rietta Wallenda, granddaughter of Kurt Wallenda, acrobat Simon Arestov, rodeo performer Angelo Iodice, acrobat and comedian Matt Roben, hand balancer Christian Atayde Stoinev, dancer Evgeny Vasilenko and violinist Veronica Gan.

The fun takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave. Visit or call (509) 624-1200 to buy tickets.

Beethoven quartet

The Spokane String Quartet will dive into an all-Beethoven program next weekend at the Bing Crosby Theater.

The concert will feature three works by Ludwig van Beethoven, the String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2; String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2; and String Quartet No. 12 in E-flat Major, Op. 127.

The concert begins at 3 p.m. March 24, at the Bing, 901 W. Sprague Ave.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, and are available at, (800) 325-SEAT or at the door.

 The quartet features Mateusz Wolski and Amanda Howard-Phillips, violins; Jeannette Wee-Yang, viola; and Helen Byrne, cello.

Tickets on sale

Season subscriptions sales for this year’s Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre season are under way.

Subscriptions cost $138 for adults and $125 for seniors, with taxes and fees included. To buy, visit, call the box office at (208) 769-7780, or stop by in person at 880 W. Garden Ave., in North Idaho College’s Boswell Hall.

Individual tickets go on sale to the public April 10.

The lineup for the summer season is “Big River” (June 13 - 22), “Disney’s and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins” (July 5-14), “Romance/Romance” (July 25-Aug. 4) and “9 to 5: The Musical” (Aug. 15-25).

For information, visit>