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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

July 21, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Pike Place’s saxophonist having the time of his life

saxophonistmarketm.jpg
Sketched July 15, 3:01 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
Pike Place Market wouldn’t be the same without the buskers who add a pleasant soundtrack to the buzzling street. During my Thursday visit, I met Orin Henselyn, a young saxophonist who just started playing here two weeks ago and is thrilled about his new stage. “It’s changed my life,” he said. “I’m the first saxophonist at the market in 10 years.”
As I was drawing Henselyn, he was drawing his own share of attention. A woman stopped to buy one of his CDs and asked for his autograph.
Buskers can play at 13 different locations at the market, explained director of communications James Haydu. The spots are marked with musical notes on the pavement — inside the notes, a number from 1 to 4 represents the number of musicians allowed at each location.
With 250 buskers allowed to play here regularly and up to 325 in the summer, you’d think it’d be chaos to know who plays where and for how long. But Haydu said the busker community does a superb job of policing themselves. They play for an hour and move on to other spots, he said. “They are a huge benefit to the experience of Pike Place.”
With the opening of the new Hillclimb staircase last June, the market is now looking to add a couple more locations for buskers on the Western Avenue side. That’s where I did this sketch last year as the construction was just starting.
I didn’t explore that side of the market this time, so I’ll have to go back, climb the new stairs and perhaps meet a new busker who would be game for a sketch.
Play it again!
Listen to Henselyn’s music on his MySpace page.

Comments | Topics: Pike Place Market

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