Let’s hear it for the Snohomish County Music Project

Ten years ago, moviegoers at the Everett Mall I-II-III cinemas were watching the Oscar-winner “Crash,” the comedy “Monster-in-Law” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Five years ago, the former triplex was transformed into a music hall. Now, the place has a new name.

It’s the Northwest Music Hall, a designation meant to reach a regional audience.

Home of the Snohomish County Music Project, the venue has been known until recently as the Everett Music Hall.

By any name, it will be rocking Friday night, when Roger Fisher and the Human Tribe play the venue’s first big show since the name switch. Fisher, an original member of the rock group Heart, is a legend for his searing guitar riffs on “Barracuda” and other hits he co-wrote with the band in the 1970s.

Fisher has been recording at the hall as part of a four-album project, “One Vision.” Its first album, “All Told,” was released earlier this year.

“With the level of performers like Roger Fisher, we wanted to expand our reach, to be known as a regional facility,” said Roger Pawley, president and CEO of the Snohomish County Music Project.

The nonprofit music project was launched in 2011, growing out of the Everett Symphony Orchestra when that arts organization fell on hard times. In a 2012 Herald article, Pawley said the Snohomish County Music Project represented a shift in focus from classical music to human services.

On Wednesday, he described how the onetime cinema now has multiple uses, among them a place to help at-risk teens.

The largest of the three former movie theaters is the 300-seat concert hall where Fisher will perform. Theater seats were removed from a smaller space, now the music room. With tables and chairs, that room is used for rehearsals, corporate meetings and bar service offered during concerts.

What was once the third movie theater, with 150 seats, is the Music Futures room.

Teens referred by the county’s juvenile justice system take part in the Music Futures youth program. It’s led by Karla Hawley, music therapy director for the Snohomish County Music Project. Kids join in group drumming, songwriting, jam sessions and guitar instruction.

“We average 17 kids every week,” Hawley said. Teens are encouraged to bring a friend for support and a connection between the program and their lives.

There is also music therapy for men over 50, many of them veterans, Pawley said. The Verdant Health Commission, based in south Snohomish County, supports that effort.

The Tuesday men’s group includes Vietnam-era veterans, some with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “We get referrals from the Everett Vet Center and social services,” Hawley said. “Verdant wanted us to work with men 50 and older, veterans or not, many struggling with depression or at risk of suicide.”

Music therapy also is reaching the elderly. The music project conducted a pilot program at Quail Park, a Lynnwood senior community with assisted living and a memory care facility. Hawley said seven seniors were part of the pilot program, and 16 are now involved in a group music program.

“We work with each individual to develop a song list — 20 songs relevant to the history of that individual,” she said. “We want that music to bring up the best memories of themselves and their lives, and not songs that trigger traumatic or difficult memories.”

In one case, she said, it was discovered that the Andrews Sisters singing, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” brought up a painful memory of infidelity during World War II. But the resident was calmed by a spiritual song, “Amazing Grace.”

The Snohomish County Music Project doesn’t have a standing orchestra. “We put together a contract orchestra to do benefit concerts,” Pawley said. That group, Sound Edge Orchestra, performs at an annual fund-raiser for Senior Services of Snohomish County.

Will the new name cause confusion about location? Pawley said it may take time for people to know where the venue is. An easy answer, he said, is to promote it as the Northwest Music Hall at Everett Mall.

Inside the hall and out in the community, the music project is making some noise — and a positive difference. With the hall’s name change, it’s ready to invite the public in for bigger shows.

“What we’re trying to do is up the game,” Pawley said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Roger Fisher at

NW Music Hall

Roger Fisher and the Human Tribe will perform an all-ages concert at 8 p.m. Friday at the renamed Northwest Music Hall at Everett Mall, 1402 SE Everett Mall Way. Doors open 7 p.m. Tickets $25, $75 with VIP access: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1601530

Snohomish County Music Project information: www.scmusicproject.org

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