News And Events

News And Events

The Chapeau of the Year Contest

ESU Seattle Branch Members and Guests, get ready to put your "hats on" for the ESU Summer Garden Party's annual "Chapeau of the Year" competition! The Garden Party and this year's hat contest will be Saturday afternoon, July 30th.

This year, men and women will compete together in four contest categories of hats: Most Elegant, Funniest, Most Original and Traditional/Historic. You may bring more than one hat and enter more than one category; but, amongst the entrants within each category, with men and women competing together, there will be just one winner. The winners of the four categories will then compete for "Chapeau of the Year," and win the handsome perpetual trophy.

So, start making/buying/designing/ borrowing the hat or hats you want to wear for the fun-in—the—sun annual ESU Summer Hat Contest. July 30th will be here before you know it!

—Dick McGrath and Peter Phillips

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Board Resolutions Regarding Monthly Receptions

Our Branch Treasurer, Bob Milnor, has noted in several monthly reports to the board that for some time income from the monthly receptions has fallen, in large part due to the number of individuals who attend but don't pay. To at least make a start in correcting this, the board has passed two resolutions regarding attendance at receptions. These resolutions will be in effect beginning July 1, 2017.

Members 90 Years of Age and Older

Those who have reached their 90th birthday (congratulations!) will now be charged half price ($10) to attend monthly receptions. This does not apply to spouses, partners, guests (unless they are also at least 90) or to other events, such as the Summer Garden Party or Speaker Dinners.

First Time Guests

The purpose of allowing a guest to attend a monthly reception for free is solely to recruit new Branch members. Members are allowed to bring a guest who may reasonably be expected to become a member one time only for free. Previous guests, children, out-of-town relatives, or anyone who is not being actively recruited as a potential Seattle ESU Branch member must pay $20. If you have a question on whether a potential guest qualifies for free admittance, please contact me, or any other Board Member.

--Bill Maschmeier, President; ESU Seattle Branch

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Welcome to the Seattle Branch of the ESU

Representatives from 54 countries gathered at Dartmouth House in London for the Centenary Conference of the International English-Speaking Union over five days the third week in May, culminating in a celebration of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday. Monday evening's reception at Dartmouth House gave all the delegates and guests a chance to meet and greet. On Tuesday guests enjoyed a tour of the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall while delegates were in session, and in the late afternoon all enjoyed a talk on the power of Churchill's rhetoric by Lord Watson and Celia Sandys, Winston's granddaughter. 

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With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Tara Davenport  from Sammamish, WA, a student of Jaclyn Hannah Fry at Skyline High School in Sammamish, placed as a semi-finalist in the 34th  annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Tara previously won the ESU Seattle Branch competition.

The winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing the San Francisco Branch, received a full scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer.  Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from The English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

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The Last Word

Many, many thanks to Fred Kleinschmidt and the Boeing Giving Program for the Generous $1,009 they contributed to our general branch fund, that makes it possible to continue with all our educational work. Fred does so much for our branch. Wherever we have a need, Fred steps in to offer help. 

Thanks to another person who keeps on GIVING. Alison Ellison coordinates our monthly receptions. But when we went to her home in March, not only had she offered her home but also many wonderful buffet dishes including a huge trifle for dessert. Alison was helped by Barbee Tucker-Pigott, Marlene Holbrook, Sarah Atwood, Fred Kleinschmidt, Alan Waggoner, Norma Jean Kritsonis and Judy King. When Alison asks for your help in bringing food, volunteer with a smile!  Her job is a difficult one!

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Reception site co-chairs need sites

Reception Site Co-chairs Peter Phillips and Susan Wilson need venues for June, July and beyond! If you would be willing to lend your home for a Saturday evening, please contact Susan at (206) 292-9756 or email her at Our receptions are great places to keep up with friends, old and new, but we need your help.

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Welcome to the New Monthly Reception Coordinators!

Susan Wilson and Peter Phillips have volunteered to tackle the job of finding venues for our ESU Monthly Receptions. If you would like to volunteer your home for the second Saturday of any future month, please give Susan a call at (206) 292-9756 or email her at Our monthly receptions are very important for our members and fun places to catch up on the news of our friends. We are deeply indebted to our hardworking bar guys, Joe and Steve, as well as Alison and her reliable hostesses. Add to this our new members of the team—Susan and Peter. Many thanks to all who help our branch!

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Nominations for Board and Officers Welcomed

It is that time of the year when the Nominating Committee meets to fill Seattle Board and Officer slots. If you would like to be considered, please drop a note to Pat Wilson this year's Nominating Chairperson by email at or mail her at Wilcor Grounding Systems, 4045 Seventh Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98108. Please indicate your interest in working with one of our programs or how you might contribute to the branch. I'll copy and pass your request to our other committee members.

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English-In-Action News

We are so lucky that Marlene Holbrook stepped in to revive our branch English-in-Action program! She, along with Lisa and Sara, is doing an outstanding job. You'll be pleased to hear of the program status:

English-in-Action of the Seattle Branch of the English Speaking Union has just completed the first segment of this year's program. Our group has grown from 3 persons to 9. The additional number are visiting scholars from Korea and Japan, a lovely group that are truly enjoyable. A big thank you to Lisa McHogan and Sara Hemphill my stalwart associates who contribute so much. If anyone is interested in joining this very interesting gathering, please contact me for further information.

—Marlene Holbrook, English-in-Action Chair, (425) 218-6230

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Many Thanks to All Who Donated to Our Branch Scholarship, English-In-Action, and Shakespeare Programs

The Lavender Hill Mob passed the hat and donated $385 For the Scholarship Fund. The group is growing and it shows you can have a lot of fun and do good things at the same time!

Patron Members can send a portion of their membership back to the branch as did Judy King, Clarke O'Reilly, Jr., Kathleen Hitchcock, Mark Levine and John Keppler, Don and Elizabeth McKenzie, Sarah Navarre, Ingrid Philbrick, Jim and Donna Smith, Dr. Barbee Tucker-Pigott, and Jay and Suzy Wakefield.

In Memoriam Donations were given to remember past member Kathleen Hitchcock. Ingrid Philbrick' designated her donation to the Shakespeare Fund, and James and Ethel Kemp-Slaughter designated the Scholarship Fund. Remember, you can designate any donation for the fund you are most interested in helping with their efforts! We all miss Kathleen.

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The English-Speaking Union

Seattle Branch

Seattle Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.