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Anna Thormahlen Jenkins: articles...

Sherry Grindeland
Kirkland is pitching a hitching for V-Day
Seattle Times staff columnist

It's a sweetheart of a deal.
Volunteers hope to make Kirkland the wedding capital of the Northwest on Valentine's Day. So far they've booked four weddings but have room for more.

The group, Kirkland Weddings (, started during the city's centennial celebration in 2005. The ambitious goal then was to do 100 marriages or renewals of vows. Fifty-six couples participated.

It was so much fun the consortium of local businesses and parks department folks decided last year to keep up the marrying. Retired Judge Carolyn Hayek officiates the ceremonies. A couple of photographers, a florist and a wedding consultant complete the package. Stacy Kvam, a wedding planner, assigns tasks and keeps everything on track.

The weddings are held at Heritage Hall. The package deal costs $350 and includes the site, a bouquet and boutonniere, a photographer and harpist Anna Jenkins of Kirkland. So far the fee barely covers the cost of the flowers, photo supplies and promotion.

This year's wedding couples hail from Sammamish, Kirkland, Bothell and Maryland.

"Downtown Kirkland is known for its art galleries, restaurants and parks," said Hayek. "We want it to also be known as the Reno of the Northwest."
Valentine's Day vows sealed with a kiss
Whitney Young and John Ball kiss after exchanging "I do's" at their Valentine's Day wedding Thursday at the "Tie the Knot" event at Heritage Hall in downtown Kirkland. A wedding was performed every hour for $350 per ceremony. Both Young and Ball have been married before and didn't want a big wedding. They've been meaning to get married, but plans hadn't worked out. Their marriage license was about to expire, and last week Young got wind of the event, promoted by
"From Clinical Practicum to Internship" found on page 6 in this issue of the Music for Healing and Transition Program's quarterly newsletter. To access the article, click Newsletter Archives/July 2005.
May 30 2007
Musicians set the tone for healing

The Mirror
Anna Jenkins wears a solemn expression while she gracefully plucks the strings on her harp. The notes fill the room and coat it with an aura of peace.
Next to her, in a hospital bed, a patient is dying.
Jenkins is one of a handful of music therapists who volunteer at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way.
“I usually am serious because I’m playing for people that are very sick,” Jenkins said.
The notes are dream-like and seem to float from the harp, following no recognizable melody. To play a song a person recognized would hold them in reality, Jenkins said. An unfamiliar song helps people let go.
“They can just listen to that and drift off,” she said. “Music helps people to let go and if they’re actively dying, their hearing is the last thing that stays with them.”
Jenkins doesn’t only play for those who are dying. She also plays to relax those who are critically or chronically ill. She plays for children and the elderly as well as patients just coming out of a difficult surgery. Music helps heal, Jenkins said.
She recalled a story from two years ago. She was playing the harp at a comatose patient’s bedside while the family gathered around singing hymns. The man suddenly awoke from a coma.
It could have coincidentally been his time to wake up, but Jenkins likes to think otherwise.
“I couldn’t help but wonder if the love from all his family there somehow reached him,” she said.
For those who are dying, Jenkins spends a considerable amount of the afternoon playing her harp at their bedside. A story in the Bible mentions angels playing the harp at a person’s death.
“There are rare occasions where it’s a little scary for people,” Jenkins said. “They say ‘Oh no, I’m not ready for that.’”
Although Jenkins insists she is not an angel, she said there is often a spiritual presence in the room when she plays.
“I’ve had people comment that they’ve been touched by the spirit. I don’t want to imply that it’s me, but it’s something that happens in the room at the time,” she said.
Soothing music reduces a patient’s blood pressure, relieves anxiety and affects the heart rate, said Renee Krisko, a chaplain at St. Francis. Krisco assigns Jenkins and other music therapists to patients who would most benefit from the music.
“I believe there are medical healing effects to this,” she said.
Jenkins said she’s watched a person’s heart rate go down on the monitor while she’s playing. She was trained in music therapy as part of the Music for Healing and Transition program. (See link below for remainder of article.)

Contact Margo Horner: or (253) 925-5565.
© Copyright 2007 Federal Way Mirror