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Singer Williamson inspires West Sound

"SUQUAMISH - Singer/songwriter Cris Williamson visited West Sound Academy Monday afternoon, giving the students three hours of tips and inspiration. Williamson has released 19 CDs (and told the students she is working on a 20th); she has performed in Russia; she has sold out Carnegie Hall. But on Monday, Williamson's audience were grade school, junior high and high school-age, and her stage was a corner of the former Doc Marlin's Restaurant, where West Sound now holds classes. Pay attention to what moves you, Williamson said to the students, her guitar held across her body, then added: Pay attention, period. Williamson visited West Sound Academy as part of a Monday workshop series the school has. Professionals from the community are brought to talk to students. A parent who had followed Williamson's career and listened to her music thought of bringing the singer to Suquamish, and Williamson agreed. After introducing herself and engaging students in conversation (she asked them about controversial young rapper Eminem), Williamson performed for the students, and gave them tips on how to improve their own music. I thought it helped because I want to start a band, said one student - sixth-grader Nathaniel Buchler. Another student, fifteen-year-old Emily Kubiak, said, She had a really great presence. She seemed to really like what she was doing. Williamson plays piano, but most often plays the guitar; so does Kubiak, who said she took up the instrument just a year and a half ago after years of wanting to. During her visit, Williamson had the students get into groups and think about song names (most interesting: The Mystical Blue Acidic Trash). She also told them to sit down for a few minutes and write. If they can't think of anything to write about, WIlliamson said, write that, literally: I can't think of anything to write about. Then keep writing. I liked the tips about writing, Kubiak said. Williamson doled out other advice during her visit. She told students that if something was important to them, to pursue that thing, and not to concern themselves with what other people thought. She did an inspirational job, said Kimberly Fournier, a 14-year-old. She was very truthful. She was also very very funny. Fournier added, I would recommend for her to go to a lot of schools. She's someone who can brighten a kid's future. It appears as if Williamson has already done so. Buchler, the sixth-grader who plays piano and wants to start a band, said he was so impressed by the visit he wrote a song. "

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