Vaudeville variety show will benefit Whidbey AIR Internet radio

Posted in Feature

March 21, 2013

Whidbey Island has its own Internet radio station and an upcoming fundraiser will help to keep it streaming out to the island and beyond.

Join emcee Rear Admiral Ret. Bill McDaniel when he hosts the family-friendly “KWPA Isle of the Arts Visits Vaudeville Variety Show” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24 at Click Music in Oak Harbor. See an octogenarian cheerleader, dazzling tap dancers, a jokester accordion player, opera singers, an electric cellist, a belly-dancer, a singing cowboy poet and students of the Oak Harbor High School choir, among other acts. They will all entertain their hearts out in order to help keep Whidbey AIR streaming with the sounds, color and flavor of the Whidbey Island community.

The show is sponsored by eight local, women-owned and operated businesses and hopes to raise funds that will keep Whibey AIR solvent.

Master of ceremonies McDaniel, who lists among his many accomplishments as having starred on the reality TV series “The Mole,”  said that besides being a fun event, the fundraiser is also meaningful effort for him, as the station provides a connection to home for the sailors and officers who are deployed all over the world.

Accordion-playing funny man David Locke will play McDaniel’s “sidekick” onstage to provide plenty of shenanigans between the acts, including jokes and prizes.

Young circus performers.(Photo courtesy of

Young Vaudeville performers from the early 1900s.(Photo from the Bob Bragman collection)

KWPA’s longest running program, “Isle of the Arts,” is co-hosted by Mary Rose Anderson, the fundraiser’s producer, and Annie Zeller Horton, the Vaudeville’s director.

“We want to wow people who come to the Vaudeville show with just how rich the talent pool of performers is right here in our own backyard,” Horton said.

Horton said she is very much looking forward to the opening act, with Oak Harbor’s 88-year-old cheerleader Helen Chatfield Weeks, who will be warming up the crowd with two cheers tailored to remind the audience how easy it is to find KWPA on the Net.

KWPA radio, nicknamed Whidbey AIR Public Radio, is based on the wharf at Penn Cove in Coupeville and streams shows that are hosted and produced by volunteer talent from all points between Clinton and Deception Pass. Still a fledgling operation, and entirely volunteer-run, the community radio station boasts both a wide variety of shows and listeners.

Gwen Samuelson is the chairperson of  KWPA’s  Board of Directors.

“Whidbey AIR has listeners who have made themselves known in Egypt, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, England, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Germany and France, just to name a few.  Plus the station has an audience from all across the United States,” she said.

“It’s Whidbey to the world,” she added.

But the member-supported station needs funds for licensing fees, equipment, rent and other essentials in order to keep streaming. It needs help from the community it serves. Everyone is invited to come out and help support Whidbey Island’s only public radio station.

Tickets to the show are $10 for adults and $1 for children 15 and younger.

Click Music is located at 1130 7th Ave. N.E. Get tickets at the door or in advance at Click Music or Kakies Bakery in Oak Harbor; and Lavender Wind Farm Store or MJC Copies & Stationary in Coupeville.

To listen to Whidbey AIR or to become a member of KWPA visit here.

Sponsors of the KWPA Vaudeville Variety Show include AAC Design in Coupeville; Click Music in Oak Harbor; MJC Copies & Stationary in Coupeville; Kakie’s Bakery in Oak Harbor; Razzle Dance Fitness and Unsize Me Hot Yoga; Jenny Bean Coffee in Coupeville; Whidbey Marketplace and News; Whidbey AIR public radio; and Whidbey Life Magazine.

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