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Fun, not fame, is local band’s mission

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Sea of Green
Dave Johnson, Jim Price, Sarah Edmonds, Erica Engstrom and Rorry Dunbar are members of “Sea of Green.” Courtesy photo.
It’s always entertaining to ponder the genesis of a rock band’s name.

Most often there’s a story behind it, which unless revealed, remains an intriguing mystery. Take "Sea of Green," a local group that favors playing covers of classic rock hits. You might guess that the origin of the band’s name is somehow related to water. Or possibly, the "green" might refer to money or maybe it’s a nod to the environment. In truth, however, it has nothing to do with any of these themes.

"We were struggling to come up with a name," explains Rorry Dunbar, a guitarist and vocalist with the band. "We questioned first whether we were even good enough to have a name! And then it all came together at this outdoor picnic where we were playing.

There weren’t many people there, as it wasn’t well attended, and one of us looked out at the wide expanse of lawn and made the comment that it looked like a sea of green because all you could see was this huge lawn. The name just kind of clicked at that point."

Dunbar, a longtime Woodinville resident, and his band mates, Sarah Edmonds (lead vocals), Jim Price (drums), Dave Johnson (lead guitarist) and Erica Engstrom (bass) have known each other for many years.

They all attended Snohomish High together where they played in the school’s jazz band. They formed their group about 10 years ago, performing in the local area for people they knew, but then went their separate ways. Then in the last year, they started up again.

"It’s purely recreational for us," says Dunbar. "We get together every Saturday just to play. We’ve never really cared about performing, but if people ask us to, we’ll do it."

Recently, the band did a show at Eddie’s Trackside Bar & Grill in Monroe for a sizeable crowd that gave the group much positive feedback.

"We were surprised at the response we got," adds Dunbar. "Folks seemed to really like the selection and variety of tunes we played. It’s all 70s and 80s music and it’s danceable stuff."

He notes that classic rock is music he and his band mates grew up with, yet it still remains current with today’s youth.

"It’s music that’s imbedded in society," he adds. "Kids today like it. They like listening to it and they like playing it. It’s just never gone out of style."

For Dunbar, who is a self-taught guitarist, playing music is akin to therapy and he makes sure to get his daily dose.

"I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a huge thing for me," he remarks. "Playing the guitar is a huge release for me and I try and do it for an hour each day."

Unlike many other groups, however, Sea of Green isn’t looking for more exposure. The members aren’t interested in fame or booking lots of gigs. Each of the members has a day job that takes priority in their lives. Dunbar is a contractor, Edmonds works for a cabinet company, Price is a project manager for the Snohomish School District, Johnson teaches music in Edmonds and Engstrom drives a bus in Snohomish.

"We’ll never be famous and that’s quite alright with us," says Dunbar. "We’re just geared to have fun. That’s the main motivation."

If you want to catch Sea of Green, the band will be playing at Oyster Run in Anacortes on September 25.

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