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National and regional award-winning journalist, photographer, and activist (Hanford, Spokane River, regional clean air issues, national nuclear weapons and waste policy). Former senior editor Camas Magazine, former client and communications director, Center for Justice, Spokane.

Life in the Key of K

Kendall Feeney dazzled audiences with her passion for eclectic music. Off stage she was just as inspiring.

My favorite memory of Kendall Feeney is from a bowling outing, one that now seems like a lifetime ago.

It had to have been in the early 90s and the three of us—she and I and my then-spouse, Connie—must have wanted to get out of our heads for a while. So, here was this restless musical scholar and wisp of a phenom—in four tone, rental bowling shoes. Her eyes were crossed and her tongue was sticking out of her mouth as she pretended to be drunk after rolling a gutter ball. It was deliriously funny. She could be that way.

photo courtesy Patricia Ratcliffe

I wouldn’t be the one to even try to summarize K’s extraordinary musical legacy. I’ll just inject that if there were any questions about her talent, her passion, and her insatiable explorations, she answered them many times over with the aptly named “Zephyr” project she created and sustained in Spokane for over a decade, until 2002.

Even so, there was so much more to her career as an artist and teacher. For those reasons, it was more than fitting that the first person to speak publicly about Kendall’s passing was fellow musician Verne Windham who, for a generation, has also been the voice of classical music for Spokane Public Radio. With perfectly eloquent silence, Verne said nothing at all to start his tribute to her. He simply allowed her piano to speak in Bach for two and a half minutes before softly informing his audience of her passing and talking wistfully about her life and her formidable contributions to the Spokane music scene. The 17 minute piece includes a fairly recent recording of Kendall teaching Bach and in it we hear the energy and fluctuations in her voice as she writes out loud about how the composition unfolds. It is the voice of a woman who would not be extinguished. She led an indelible life. Continue reading Life in the Key of K

The Angels and the Flash Boys

How reading became the silver lining to a Christmas crisis

Four years ago, we learned something weird was going on with my son’s right leg. We’d gone to a clinic thinking he might have a small break after a fall at school, but then learned it was a condition we’d never even heard of, something called osteochrondritis dissecans. A small section of bone at the bottom of Devin’s femur, at the knee, was dying from a lack of blood flow. A delicate surgery and months of re-hab followed. For a year or so we had to give up father-son outings involving hiking, football and ultimate frisbee.

Instead, we went to the movies.

Continue reading The Angels and the Flash Boys