“Theater is life, movies are art, TV is furniture,” says Terry Simon, musician, singer, composer, and playwright. “Experiencing entertainment live is so much more rewarding than from any other source.”

Terry began his musical career in the fourth grade, when he learned to play the piano. He now also plays the organ, tuba, baritone horn, as well as an unusual instrument, the nose flute. And he notes with a grin, “I was in a rock ‘n’ roll band in high school.”

Terry’s favorite genre is jazz, with the Big Band sound coming in a close second. He also enjoys the opportunity to sing, and does so as a member of the Moonlight Swing Orchestra. Directed by Mark Kunz, this orchestra of 17 instrumentalists and a vocalist performs big band songs of the 1930s through contemporary times at events around the area. Terry is the longest tenured member of the band.

Terry became involved with the local theater in 1993, performing in a two-act radio program written by Pat Ainsworth. One act was based on the USO shows that were broadcast to the troupes during WWII. Terry expanded this very popular program and revised the format into a show that would have been performed on a stage before the troupes. This lively production, called In the Mood, has been running off and on for 23 years. Terry is writer, director, manager and performer. Each year, he auditions four male and female vocalists, and gathers musicians to play in the orchestra. He also selects the music and writes the dialogue for the skits.

Not only does Terry enjoy playing and singing, he finds it enormously rewarding to pull together the rich talent in the area to produce quality orchestras and performances. He notes there are many talented folks in the Sky Valley, and he has a high regard for the outstanding musicians, artists and actors who entertain and uplift the community.

In addition to In the Mood, Terry has written several other pieces, including musical reviews and two children’s plays, which he produced and directed. A long-standing member of the local theater club, Terry always lends a hand to the many plays and musicals that have been presented over the years.  He will be helping with the upcoming Sky Performing Arts staging of “Oklahoma” in early May.

The theme and dates for next year’s In the Mood are currently being decided.

The Moonlight Swing Orchestra will also be in the spotlight on the evening of Saturday, Jan. 28, at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. Come enjoy the music or take a partner and swing. 

Raised in the little town of Peshastin, just east of Leavenworth, Terry received his law degree from the University of Washington. He worked with a law firm in Lynwood that had a branch in Monroe. In 1998, when they decided to downsize, Terry purchased the site in Monroe and opened his own law practice. Terry specializes in estate planning, probate, wills, trusts, elder law and estate administration. He also steps up to the bench as a Snohomish County District Court Judge Pro Tem on occasion.

Terry contributes in other ways to the community. He is on the board of directors for the Sky Valley Food Bank and his church, and is a past president of the Monroe Kiwanis Club and Monroe Chamber of Commerce. He also helped negotiate the contract between the Monroe Arts Council and Monroe School District, making it possible for Sky Performing Arts to call Wagner Performing Arts Center their home.

Again Terry emphasizes there is nothing like being there. More and more, people are getting their entertainment from electronic mediums while there is so much more enjoyment and satisfaction to be gained from being in the audience of a live performance.  And there are plenty of opportunities to actively participate in the Sky Valley musical and arts scene as well. Check out audition notices, music store call boards, and the websites for the many theater groups in the area. Whether you feel you have a talent or not, there are many ways to be involved.

So get off the couch, find a live venue, and get in the mood!