i have performed three times in the past few years, at the king street station in downtown seattle. the first time was a few years ago, and it was also the first time i performed with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. i was the only trombone player, there were supposed to be two others, but they couldn’t make it. we performed outside, on the platform where passengers board and disembark the trains, and despite the fact that i was the only trombone player, it went fairly well. at that time, the ceiling had been artificially lowered, and completely covered by an “accoustic” ceiling which was supposed to save money by giving the city less space to heat. there were a couple of ceiling tiles missing, and you could see a tiny glimpse of what used to be the ceiling, several stories above, but most of it was hidden.
the second time was also with the BSSB, but it was out in front, on jackson street, for the opening of the renovation of the king street station, about two years ago. we put our cases inside the upper level, which was in the process of being renovated, but it wasn’t open to the public yet. there were open beams, brickwork, and lots of dust inside, but we were actually playing outside, so it wasn’t really an issue. where we put our cases was right at the level of the “lowered” ceiling, and you could see above it, but it wasn’t much to see: a lot of cobwebs, 50 years of dust and grime, and the underpinings (overpinings?) of the suspended ceiling which was put up without concern for the artistic nature of the real ceiling.
the third time was this morning, and it, too, was with the BSSB, but this one was the “grand re-opening” of the totally refurbished king street station. they totally removed the old “lowered” ceiling, and restored the station to the way it looked 100 years ago… only with totally new electrical, mechanical, plumbing, a seismic retrofit, and a new roof on the bell tower. this time we played in the big waiting room with the new three-story-tall ceiling… which made the room uncomfortably “live” but we did admirably well in spite of everything.