Soundfalls is…

Maren and Byron perform at Millers in Carnation, WA

Sharing, learning, and
building community
through music, stories and ideas…

SoundfallsHelping people connect with nature through their own nature, thus being a part of creation rather than mere observers of it.

Founded in 2005 simply as a reading and music night, the Soundfalls Institute of Live Performance has grown into a comprehensive music and experiential education program that helps people create and participate in live performances featuring music and stories in unique and intimate settings. Directed by Maren Van Nostrand and carried out by a group of dedicated volunteers and contributors, Soundfalls includes live off-the-air radio shows, private or small-group piano or percussion lessons, workshops, house or hall concerts, studio practice, and outdoor or chapel performances.

The Show

Each Soundfalls night is unique. It’s a relaxing evening of the unexpected! It’s radio-theater off the air! It’s an open stage gathering of both Snoqualmie Valley folks and those who love to come to the valley from all over the region–and country–for peace and spontaneity. “The magic of discovering the creative performer in you is here.” The shows are peppered with local young artists, interwoven with nationally known performers (Laura Caviani, Dan Carollo, Ken Lonnquist, jean mann, Myra Joy, Claudia Schmidt) and featured with regional artists of all kinds. There is music, stories, local live ads, interviews, improv, and other unique talents.

Enjoy this five minute video of some of our Soundfalls Highlights…Simply click on the link below and you will enter Vimeo (no password needed). Enjoy!

Vimeo Image Soundfalls

Soundfalls IS the wealth of the eighty-plus people who bring energy to the shows, concerts, workshops and lessons. Without them, this organization would not exist. These are people who love and care about live performance, and who are dedicated to traditional performing arts. See the long, yet incomplete and growing, list on our Team page. We are continually adding names, not only as we recall the many people who have performed or assisted in productions, but also as we meet and produce with more and more of them.


How did Soundfalls grow into the popular venue that it is today?

Soundfalls Founding Director Maren Van Nostrand regularly found herself in the company of talented friends who were simply too shy or too busy to figure out how to share their music and tell their stories, and yet they seemed to really need and want that. Some of them would sign their children up for private piano lessons with her, but then continue to neglect their own creative sides. (See Private Lessons tab for a background on Maren). To ameliorate this, Maren began creating evenings of live performances for people of all ages. The first one was a birthday gift to her husband, Byron Ricks, on his 40th birthday at the Millers Arts and Community Center in downtown Carnation. It was a big success, with friends volunteering to play and sing, and read, and there was strong interest for another one after that, and then another one, and another one…. the surplus of untapped talent in the region was endless! So Soundfalls continued to host shows every few months ever since, and through this process, hundreds of people have shared their hidden gifts with each other and with the community. These evenings have grown in size and in variety, and have, over time, included many of Maren’s students of music combined with performers of all kinds, both new artists, blossoming artists, and very well-known and established recording artists. As the show’s artists find themselves blossoming under the watchful and loving gaze of Soundfalls’ audiences, they spread the word to other artists, who in turn spread the word to other artists, and so on.

As the creative process unfolds within this group, individually and mutually, we begin to find more meaning in the poetry and expressions of artists, of all forms, around us.

Such as this revelation from John Coltrane:

Once you become aware of this force for unity in life you can’t ever forget it. It becomes part of everything you do …. my conception of that force keeps changing shape. My goal in meditating this through music, however, remains the same. That is to uplift people as much as I can. To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life.

There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine, new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so that we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state. So that we can see more and more clearly what we are. In that way, we can give those who listen to the essence, the best of what we are. But to do that at each stage, we have to keep cleaning the mirror.

– John Coltrane interviewed by Nat Hentoff, 1966. Liner notes to the album Meditations

See the private lessons page on this web site for other opportunities within Soundfalls Institute.