Bell ringing, musical performances in Federal Way honor COVID-19 victims

Hosted by Make Music Federal Way, event honors nationwide deaths and 74 Federal Way residents who have died.

Tuesday marked a somber milestone in the coronavirus pandemic as the United States surpassed 400,000 COVID-19-related deaths.

In Federal Way, community members and city leaders gathered to honor the lives lost, grieving strangers across the nation and the 74 Federal Way residents who have died due to the virus, said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell.

Held by the Federal Way Lions Club’s Make Music Federal Way, the event opened with a solo performance of “Amazing Grace” in Swahili by Elizabeth Karimi of Tabernacle Temple of Praise.

Accompanying Karimi and performing three additional songs was the Marine Hills Bells, featuring Sean T., director of Touch of Class Big Band, on bells and saxophone; Federal Way resident Steve Meier on bells; Federal Way resident Christopher Stone of Federal Way Rotary on banjo; and Jan Barber, project manager of Make Music Federal Way, on bells.

In addition, Washington Diamonds Drill Team drumline performers included Nijawn Sterling, Ahjeawnna Sterling and Markeyce Pomasoo with Director Fawn Sterling.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stripped so many people of vital parts of their lives, from jobs and money to losing loved ones to the virus, said Jan Barber.

“And yet, we’re still a community and we can stand with one another,” Barber said. “It’s moving to be able to be a part of this.”

Elizabeth Karimi, center, sings a verse of "Amazing Grace" in Swahili with Marine Hills Bells members and Washington Diamonds Drill Team drummers in Federal Way on Jan. 18. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror