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A big thank-you to those of you who helped Seattle Symphony adopt eight orcas!

In honor of the mission of The Blue Planet Live!, the Symphony committed to adopt one orca for every 50 Blue Planet tickets sold since July 1 through the Whale Museum’s Orca Adoption Program. Now, thanks to all of you, the Symphony is the proud supporter of a mini-pod of Puget Sound orcas. All funds go to support conservation efforts and research.

Way to go!



Win big with Cirque and Seattle Symphony!

In honor of the Symphony’s upcoming presentation of Cirque de la Symphonie on July 11 and 12, we’ve pulled together a set of circus trivia. The first five people who respond with the correct answers via email will win a pair of tickets to the July 12 performance of Cirque de la Symphonie. Ready? Set? Cirque!

The standard size of a circus ring was determined as the arc which a horse could navigate at a full gallop. What is the diameter of that arc?

  1. 36 feet
  2. 42 feet
  3. 49 feet
  4. 59 feet

Which of the following tokens is considered good luck by many circus performers?

  1. A tiger’s whisker, attached to their costume
  2. Dirt or sand from inside the ring, sprinkled in their shoes
  3. A ticket stub from that day’s show, rubbed for luck before entering the ring
  4. An elephant’s tail hair, worn as a ring or bracelet

Who put on the first circus in the United States?

  1. John Bill Ricketts in 1783
  2. Joshuah Purdy Brown in 1825
  3. P.T. Barnum in 1842
  4. James Anthony Bailey in 1881

How many brothers founded the Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth?

  1. Two
  2. Three
  3. Five
  4. Seven

What is the name of this famous circus theme song?

  1. Three Ring March
  2. Entrance of the Gladiators
  3. Pachyderms on Parade
  4. March of the Clowns

To Enter: Email your full name, telephone number, and answers to, with “Cirque Quiz” in the subject line, by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 7. You will be contacted via telephone by Tuesday, July 8, if you have won.

Get in on the orca-adoption action!

For every 50 Blue Planet Live! tickets sold between July 1 and July 8, Seattle Symphony will adopt an orca. Prompted by The Blue Planet’s aim to protect the oceans and their inhabitants, Seattle Symphony is partnering with The Whale Museum’s Orca Adoption Program to raise awareness and help directly support ongoing research on orcas and other marine mammals in the Pacific Northwest.

Buy a ticket, save a whale. What could be better?

Giant Pacific OctopusWelcome guest blogger Cindy Roberts, staff biologist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium! Read on for a look at Puget Sound’s underwater wonders (of the eight-legged variety) in honor of the Symphony’s upcoming performance of The Blue Planet Live!, only at Benaroya Hall on July 8 & 9.

Living in the Pacific Northwest can be wonderful, as it provides many diverse experiences for both locals and tourists alike. From hiking and biking to the many festivals and arts activities in the area, there is always something to do. There is one thing, however, that makes Western Washington extra special — the Puget Sound. I consider myself fortunate to be able to live and explore the Puget Sound, as it is home to one of my favorite marine animals: the Giant Pacific Octopus.

Giant Pacific Octopuses are the largest octopus species in the world and are an icon of the Pacific Northwest. Adult males can weigh up to 100 pounds — females average 50 pounds — with an arm span of 14 feet from tip to tip. Octopuses have the largest brains of all invertebrates, and although they may look like slimy aliens from another planet, they are actually beautiful, muscular, intelligent animals. Octopuses are amazing hunters: they use more than 200 suctions cups on each of eight arms to capture crabs, shrimp, clams and even an occasional rockfish. In the wild, the Giant Pacific Octopus keeps busy protecting him or herself from predators, hunting for food and, near the end of its short three-year life span, looking for a mate.

You can experience a Giant Pacific Octopus up close and personal at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. These fascinating creatures are kept in captivity for only a few months so that biologists can learn more about them, and so the public can see them in the flesh. The octopuses are then released back into the wild with the cooperation of local wildlife agencies so they can finish out their lives in the beautiful Puget Sound.

To keep octopuses mentally stimulated while in captivity, the aquarists provide enrichment. Food puzzles, lidded jars and even children’s toys help bring out the octopus’s natural problem-solving behaviors, and keep it busy — a good thing, because If an octopus is bored, it gets into trouble. There are many stories of mischievous octopuses escaping from their tanks! Octopuses have been known to work their way through mazes, improving their time after each round. Even more unbelievable: octopuses can even paint and create artistic masterpieces (of course, “masterpiece” lies in the eye of the beholder).

With their fascinating looks and often underestimated intelligence, Giant Pacific Octopuses are not only an important part of our ecosystem; they are also an inspiration to us as we work to protect our oceans and our Earth.

You’ve read all about Wynton Marsalis — now, rev up for his performance with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra on July 1 — and learn a little bit about the process of making jazz come alive — with this video from’s SundayArts profile:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

As Marsalis himself says: “We are really about the spirit of jazz music — bringing people into the feeling of it,…bringing things together. We’re going in that direction. And there’s a lot of fruit up in those trees.”

Don’t miss it.

Seattle is kicking off summer in style this year, with the weatherman calling for sun and summery temperatures (well, for Saturday, at least). Planning to get out and catch some rays? Stroll through the West Edge Chalk Walk or Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade? Maybe take in a baseball game or two?

Pump up for that great American pastime with Punch Brothers’ version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” that old saw of the seventh-inning stretch which celebrates its 100th birthday this summer.

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Like what you see? Don’t miss Punch Brothers at Benaroya Hall on July 2, when they perform alongside SummerFest Director Mark O’Connor and his own “Hot Swing,” featuring vocal jazz sensation Sophie Milman.

And check back next week for Mark O’Connor’s take on meeting Punch Brothers’ own mandolin master, Chris Thile!

Video courtesy ESPN.